The Kraken return to their home ice tonight for their first game following the NHL’s All-Star break. While Jordan Eberle was busy in Las Vegas representing the Kraken for the Pacific Division team, most Kraken players took that time away from the ice to relax with their families. They all returned to Seattle for practice yesterday, which coach Hakstol described as an effort to “knock as much rust off as possible” before tonight’s game. The Kraken have been playing some impressive hockey lately. We’ll see if they can keep the good habits in place after some time off.
Opponent Spotlight – Arizona Coyotes
When it comes to stats showing the Coyotes are a bad team, you can take your pick of the bunch. They rank 31st out of 32 in the league standings and have lost seven of their last eight games. They’ve scored the fewest goals per game and allowed the third-most goals per game. They have the league’s worst powerplay and third-worst penalty kill. They’re the true basement-dwelling rebuild team.
However, they still shouldn’t be taken lightly. The Colorado Avalanche found that out last Tuesday, as the Coyotes beat them 3-2 in a shootout to snap the Avs’ franchise record 18-game home winning streak. For all their shortcomings in the talent department, the Coyotes are a hardworking team that has had occasional flashes of brilliance from its goaltenders. That’s a recipe for a team that can play spoiler on certain nights in the second half of the season.
- Don’t get complacent – Here’s what I said in my last Kraken-Coyotes morning brief: “This has all the makings of a trap game. Seattle is coming off a win that gave them a major confidence boost in front of their home crowd. Arizona will be tired and heavily outmatched in the skill department.” Sound familiar? The Kraken are coming off their first shutout of the year, while the Coyotes lost to the Canucks 5-1 last night. The Kraken need to learn from their past mistakes and keep their foot on the gas for 60 minutes tonight.
- Special Teams – The only area of the Kraken’s game that wasn’t improved over their last road trip was special teams. They struggled on the PK at times and the powerplay looked completely lost. There’s no better get-right opponent than the Coyotes, who, as mentioned, are bottom-3 in both PP and PK this season.
- Highlight skill players – The Coyotes don’t have a lot of high-end offensive talent. But the scorers they do have can burn you. If the Kraken give extra defensive attention to Clayton Keller and Phil Kessel, that should limit what Arizona can do offensively.
Did You Know…
Did you know the Coyotes may play in a 5,000 seat arena for the next three years? This is more of a current news story that a hockey memory but it has the potential to provide a true oddity to the league. The Coyotes will potentially be without an arena next season and one of the leading proposals involves having the team play at Arizona State University’s new arena. Intended for college hockey, the planned capacity is only 5,000, a number which could drop for NHL games. We discussed the idea in detail in our Patreon-exclusive “Red Glare Podcast”. While the full podcast is only available to patrons, we released an excerpt from it where we talk about the Coyotes arena situation. If you want to our takes on the issue, give it a listen. If you like what you heard and want to get a new Red Glare Podcast every week, you can sign up for our Patreon here. The podcast tier is $5 a month, which means you can get 3 months of weekly podcasts for the price of one beer at a Kraken game.
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!