Gameday Morning Brief – 1/12 @ Dallas Stars

After facing the Avalanche in another hard-fought game that got away from them, the Kraken go to Dallas for the first half of back-to-backs. At some level, the Kraken could feel good about the effort they gave in Monday’s game. Coach Hakstol said after the game that there were a lot of pieces that were representative of how the team needs to play. But with their losing streak now standing at six games, the Kraken need to find a way to come away with two points, rather than another moral victory.

Opponent Spotlight – Dallas Stars

The Stars are one of several teams in a crowded Western Conference wild card race. While their .562 points percentage is right in the middle of the Western Conference, it hasn’t been smooth sailing getting there. The Stars have been an especially streaky team this season. Before their dramatic loss to the Blues on Sunday, their previous 15 games consisted of seven straight wins, followed by five straight losses, followed by four straight wins.

Keep an eye on ageless wonder Joe Pavelski. At age 37, he’s leading the Stars in scoring for the second year in a row. On defense, watch #3 John Klingberg. The eight-year NHL veteran has spent his entire career in Dallas, but recent rumors suggest he could be on the move. If he and the Stars can’t reach an agreement on a new contract soon, a trade could be in the works. Watch for yourself to see if you think he’s worth trading for. NHL Scouts will be doing the same.

Three Keys

  1. Hard Backcheck – As mentioned earlier, the Kraken did a lot of things right in their last game against Colorado. So I’ll focus on a few good habits they need to continue tonight. Perhaps the most important thing Seattle did to neutralize the Avs’ attack was hard backchecking. Whenever Colorado advanced the puck on the rush, Kraken forwards would skate back with speed and disrupt the attack. If it can slow down arguably the league’s best offense, it should do well against Dallas’ league average attack.
  2. Shooting Mentality – Good things happen when you send the puck to the net. Two of Seattle’s goals Monday resulted from low-percentage perimeter shots thrown on goal. They’re not always pretty, but those kind of goals can be the difference in a game. For a team that’s last in the NHL in expected goals for per 60, being opportunistic can go a long way. The Kraken need to keep that mentality and create more chances for themselves.
  3. Let the goalie see – Against Colorado, it appeared Philipp Grubauer was on his way to a statement bounce-back performance. One of the primary reasons for his success was his ability to see the puck. The Kraken did a great job clearing traffic from the front of the net and allowing Grubauer to track shots. When they got away from that late in the second period, bodies piled up in front of their net and Colorado scored three unanswered goals. Take the lesson from early in the game and clear out the goalie’s sight lines.

Did You Know…

Growing up watching the 2005-early 2010s Dallas Stars teams, I always associated them with the shootout. The Stars have the 5th-best shootout winning percentage since the NHL adopted the no-ties overtime format in 2005, largely due to a pair of shootout specialists: Mike Ribiero and Jussi Jokinen. There was always a sense of anticipation when it was their turn to shoot. Would they do their signature move, or change it up and surprise us with something spectacular? Here are a few memorable shootout goals from the two of them:

ECH Postgame Live

Join us after the game for ECH Postgame Live! After every Kraken game this season, RJ and Dylan will do a live postgame show on the Emerald City Hockey YouTube Channel. ECH Postgame live will include a postgame wrap-up, analysis, and a live Q&A with viewers. Join the community of Kraken fans who tune in after the game to talk Kraken hockey!

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