After a devastating last minute loss to the New York Rangers, the Kraken head to Boston for the first of back-to-back games to start the month of February. While the Rangers game was an unfortunate bump in the road, the Kraken have, for the most part, been playing better hockey over the last two weeks. Tighter defense and a strong forecheck have given the Kraken a blueprint to win games- one they’ll try to stick to tonight in Boston.
Opponent Spotlight – Boston Bruins
It’s been an up and down season for the Boston Bruins. They sit solidly 4th in their division, holding onto the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. But the Cup contender level of play the Bruins have enjoyed for over a decade now hasn’t been there consistently. It’s been difficult for Boston to string together winning streaks, but they’ve yet to lose more than two games in a row either.
Newer hockey fans watching the Bruins will have the treat of watching the “perfection line” of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak for the first time. The line’s nickname says it all. Between Bergeron’s elite hockey sense and defensive ability, Marchand’s skill and edge, and Pastrnak’s nose for the net, they have everything you could possibly want in a forward line. Just surviving a shift against the trio without allowing a goal is an accomplishment for any opponent tasked with defending them.
- Fix the powerplay – It feels like the Kraken are right back where they started when it comes to the powerplay. Stagnant, predictable, and slow are all adjectives that could describe Seattle’s play with the extra man both early in the season and in their recent cold stretch. Some varied looks would go a long way tonight against a top-10 Bruins PK unit.
- Net-front presence – The Kraken have struggled to score recently, and one of the biggest reasons why is their lack of net-front presence. Getting players into a goalie’s sight line is highly effective tactic, one too many Kraken players seem unwilling to employ. Instead, they have more of a net-side presence, waiting beside the goalie as he snatches the easily visible puck out of the air.
- 60 minute effort – I had this as a key last game, but given the fact the Kraken allowed the game-winning goal with under 30 seconds to go in regulation, I think it’s worth mentioning again. Full 60 minutes.
Did You Know…
Former Bruins goalie Tim Thomas was one of the last surviving relics of a time when the goalie position was truly exciting. He was far from technically sound, often flopping around and making saves on instinct. But when it worked, it really worked. Thomas’ performance in the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup run was a masterwork. With a .940 Sv% over 25 games, it remains one of the best postseason performances in NHL history. Notice how many of these saves some on breakaways or perfect cross-ice passes. I’m certainly no Bruins fan, but I watched this video with a smile on my face the entire time.
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!