After their second close 3-2 regulation loss in a row, the Kraken travel to Long Island to face the New York Islanders for the first time. The Kraken have struggled in back-to-backs this season, but there’s hope that luck will turn for a team that’s doing a lot of the right things lately. A win would go a long way toward building some positivity heading into the All-Star break.
Opponent Spotlight – New York Islanders
After back-to-back conference final appearances, many expected the Islanders to be a Stanley Cup contender again this season. In short, things haven’t gone as planned on the island. The Isles rank 6th in the Metropolitan Division, three points out of last place and 17 points out of the final playoff spot. Offensive woes have been the primary cause. The Islanders have scored the fewest goals in the NHL, 25 goals behind the 24th-ranked Kraken. Goaltending has been above league average, but the goals just haven’t been there for New York. The team’s 13-game road trip to start the season didn’t help either, as they waited for their new arena to be completed.
Seattle hockey fans will get the chance to see former Seattle Thunderbird Mat Barzal play against the Kraken for the first time. Barzal spent four seasons with the WHL’s Thunderbirds and has become a much-loved figure in Seattle hockey circles.
- Fix the powerplay – Yes, I’m keeping this as the first key. No, it’s not laziness when writing another morning brief on a quick turnaround schedule. More than anything else, special teams cost the Kraken the game last night in Boston. 0-for-6 on the powerplay is inexcusable in such a close game. Seattle won’t have any time to practice it between now and the game, but drawing up a new look or two on the whiteboard might be worthwhile.
- Puck possession – Both the Kraken and Islanders are on the second half of back-to-backs. Fatigue will certainly become a factor as the game goes on, and the team who has to chase the puck more will tire more quickly. The Kraken have done a good job keeping puck possession early over their last few games and will need to do it again tonight.
- Slow Barzal – The Islanders don’t have many dynamic offensive weapons. Shutting down their one true speed threat should keep their offense in check. Get bodies on him in the neutral zone before he can build up any momentum.
Did You Know…
Whether you love them or hate them, Islanders fans are truly unique in the sport. The atmosphere on the island is energetic to the extreme. There may be no better example of that than the Islanders-Maple Leafs game on February 28th, 2019. That game marked the return of the Isles’ longtime captain John Tavares after he left the team in free agency to sign with his hometown Maple Leafs. Islanders fans gave him a brutal heckling from start to finish, with numerous chants during the game, including “we don’t need you”, “where’s your jammies”, “thanks for leaving”, and a few more that aren’t so family friendly.
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!