After a 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals, the Kraken travel to Raleigh overnight for the second half of a weekend back-to-back. The Kraken started strong last night, but gave up two quick goals and lost the special teams battle, ultimately sealing their fate. With one win over their last nine games, the Kraken are in need of something positive to build on as they continue their road trip.
Opponent Spotlight – Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes are currently 2nd place in the NHL standings, as they were when they faced the Kraken in November. The Canes are built on strong, fundamentally sound defense and consistent goaltending. It’s no surprise that they allow the fewest goals per game (2.40) in the league. Supplementing their successful 5-on-5 play is special teams excellence. Carolina boasts the NHL’s 8th ranked powerplay and number one penalty kill.
Keep an eye on Canes defenseman Jaccob Slavin. As a defense-first defenseman, he’s not the flashiest player. But he does some incredible things to separate opposing forwards from the puck that few other players can do. You have to look a little harder to see his brilliance, but watching the defensive masterclass he puts on most nights is worth it.
- Controlled entries – The Kraken have one of the lowest rates of controlled entries in the entire NHL. Controlled entries mean carrying the puck into the offensive zone, as opposed to dumping the puck in. With Schwartz and McCann back in the lineup, it looked like Hakstol shifted to a strategy based more on controlled entries. Kraken puck carriers hitting the blueline with speed created a new dynamic for Seattle offensively, one the Caps struggled to contain. That should help keep a talented Carolina D corps on its heels.
- Special teams – I’ve sounded like a broken record for much of the season when talking about special teams, but the problems remain. Special teams cost the Kraken last night’s game and beating a talented team like the Canes is near impossible when losing the special teams battle. There’s still plenty of time to make adjustments, especially to the powerplay, but I’m not counting on it.
- Grubauer boost – When the Kraken last played the Hurricanes, Philipp Grubauer came up big to keep Seattle in the game. The Canes outshot the Kraken 36-22, but Grubauer thrived on the big workload, looking calm and in control all game. That could be a good blueprint for tonight. Let Gru see the puck and let him manage the game for you.
Did You Know…
Did you know a puck can wedge itself into the space between the boot and blade of a goalie’s skate? Well, everyone in attendance for the Hurricanes’ 2018 game against the Arizona Coyotes learned that fact when the Coyotes scored one of the strangest goals in NHL history. Watch the one in a million play unfold with current Kraken broadcaster John Forslund on the call and Kraken defenseman Haydn Fleury (#4) on the ice:
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!