Gameday Morning Brief – 1/30 @ New York Rangers

After a statement 2-1 overtime win against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Kraken travel to New York to take on the Rangers. Today’s game will challenge not only Seattle’s hockey skills, but their internal clocks, as the 10:00AM PT start time is the earliest they’ll play all season. The Kraken will try to build off what may have been their most impressive win of the season.

Reminder that we’ll be doing a Patreon-exclusive ECH Live Commentary during the game this morning! All patrons in our Watch Party Tier can join us for live reaction and discussion throughout the game with our great community of patrons. If you want to subscribe to our Patreon and get access to ECH Live Commentary and other perks, here’s our Patreon page.

Opponent Spotlight – New York Rangers

The Rangers sit third place in the Metropolitan Division, one point behind the Kraken’s last opponent, the Pittsburgh Penguins. Like the Penguins, the Rangers excel defensively, allowing the fourth-fewest goals per game in the NHL. That said, their blueline recently suffered a major setback. The Rangers will be without reigning Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox today after he was placed on injured reserve with an upper body injury. When the Rangers last played the Kraken, Fox was an impact player, scoring the game-winning goal.

One Rangers star who should be in the lineup is goalie Igor Shesterkin. He leads the NHL with 20.78 goals saved above expected and is a frontrunner for the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender.

Three Keys

  1. Traffic in front of Shesterkin – When the Rangers visited Seattle in October, I remember being in the elevator after the game and hearing multiple people say the Kraken had been Shesterkin’d. Seattle outshot New York 32-18 in that game but Shesterkin made some spectacular saves to steal the two points. The best way to beat a goalie like that is to put traffic in front of the net and score goals that take the goalie completely out of the equation, like Jared McCann’s game-tying goal last game.
  2. Forecheck pressure – Without Adam Fox on the blueline, the Rangers will be missing their best breakout catalyst. That’s all the more reason for the Kraken to be aggressive on the forecheck and try to force mistakes. You might generate a turnover on a play where Fox would’ve burned an aggressive forechecker.
  3. 60 minute effort – We heard it many times after last game: the Kraken are capable of going toe-to-toe with good teams as long as they play the right way for a full 60 minutes. They did that in Pittsburgh, but lapses in structure today could be costly in what could be another low-scoring affair.

Did You Know…

With the Olympics coming up, I was reminded of another great international hockey competition, the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, which consisted of eight countries playing for the title. In the end, it came down to USA and Canada playing a best-of-three series in the final. When I first saw replays of the event (it happened when I was one year old), I was amazed by then-Rangers goalie Mike Richter. He made some incredible saves to lead an underdog team USA to a victory over Canada and his athletic goaltending style was a joy to watch. Richter was named tournament MVP in one of team USA’s finest international hockey moments.

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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