Gameday Morning Brief – 1/27 @ Pittsburgh Penguins

After completing a six-game homestand with a 3-3-0 record, the Kraken head back on the road to begin a four-game East Coast road trip. First stop is in Pittsburgh, where the Kraken will play their first ever game at PPG Paints Arena against Sidney Crosby’s Penguins.

You may notice Kraken team dog Davy Jones on the gameday graphic today. That’s because we just released our brand new Davy Jones merch! You can find shirts, jackets, stickers and more featuring Seattle’s adorable team dog HERE. Order today using the discount code “DAVY10” and get 10% off your entire purchase!

Opponent Spotlight – Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins are one of the hottest teams in the NHL. They’re 17-2-0 in their last 19 games and haven’t lost on home ice since November. The Penguins have a blend of star power, depth scoring, and hot goaltending that is difficult to counter when they’re on their game. Pittsburgh’s 2nd-ranked penalty kill will be in good position to shut down a Kraken powerplay that has struggled mightily over the last several games.

Keep an eye on Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, who has nine points in eight games after missing the first three months of the season with a knee injury. Throughout his career, the 35-year-old Russian has been one of the most dominant players the league has ever seen. Despite the long rehab stint, he’s picked up right where he left off following knee surgery. He and Crosby have formed a lethal 1-2 punch in Pittsburgh for years.

Three Keys

  1. Grubauer bounce-back – Dave Hakstol called Philipp Grubauer’s game against Nashville “not his best” and challenged him to be better in Pittsburgh. That kind of direct criticism of goaltending has been rare from Hakstol this season. But it has an added impact after a game where Hakstol felt the team played well enough to win, only to lose momentum on a soft goal. Grubauer will have an opportunity to bounce back and regain confidence tonight.
  2. Buckle down late – The goal the Kraken allowed at the end of the 1st period last game really took the wind out of their sails. Hakstol said of the late goal’s timing, “we worked hard that period to build a lead and that’s one you want to take into the intermission.” The Kraken can’t afford to give up any late goals to the opportunistic Penguins.
  3. Know where your next pass is – When these teams last met in Seattle, Pittsburgh’s overwhelming puck pressure threw the Kraken off their game. Seattle players didn’t know what to do with the puck and were rushed into making bad plays with it. The Kraken have had more time to practice their short passing since then and will need to have a passing option in mind as soon as they receive the puck. That will help relieve some of the Penguins’ pressure and open up lanes to create space.

Did You Know…

They say there are five ways to score in hockey: even strength, powerplay, shorthanded, empty net, and penalty shot. Seeing all five varieties of goal in a game is extremely rare. But did you know one player scored all five ways himself during a game? On December 31st, 1988, Penguins legend Mario Lemieux became the first player to score five goals in a game, five different ways. To this day, Lemieux remains the only NHL player to have accomplished the feat.

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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