After dropping both halves of a weekend back-to-back, the Kraken are off to an 0-2 start to their road trip. Both games had good signs. One could even argue the Kraken were the better team at 5-on-5 both games. But losing the special teams battle did them in. They’ll have an opportunity to set things right tonight in the world’s biggest hockey market against the league’s best powerplay. The Kraken have risen to similar challenges this season. We’ll see if they can do it tonight.
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Opponent Spotlight – Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs are currently third in the Atlantic Division, with the Boston Bruins hot on their heels threatening to move Toronto to a wild card spot. A team that’s never lacked talent with their current core, the difficulty for Toronto has always been putting it together at the right time.
The Leafs will be on the second half of a back-to-back, having played last night in Columbus. Toronto beat the Blue Jackets 5-4, but blew a 3-0 lead in the process. There’s a saying that no lead is safe in the NHL. That rings especially true when the Leafs are the team ahead.
When looking at the Leafs, you can’t escape the “what is the Toronto media machine freaking out about now?” question. Right now, it’s goaltending. Petr Mrazek has an .890 save % on the season and Jack Campbell is coming off of four straight sub-.900 outings.
- Score early – Don’t you always want to score early? Of course. But getting an early goal tonight could have a greater effect than usual. As mentioned in the opponent spotlight, Toronto has had recent goaltending issues. Both Leafs goalies have had the temperature turned up in the Toronto pressure cooker with talks of a trade deadline deal for a netminder. That’s enough to break anyone’s confidence after allowing a goal early in the game.
- Stay aggressive on the PK – The Kraken penalty kill has struggled mightily the last two games, but the newer aggressive mindset they’ve adopted is worth keeping. If the Kraken overreact and sit back on the PK, the Leafs will pick them apart from the perimeter.
- Let Grubauer/Driedger see – While the Kraken allowed 33 shots on goal last game, well above their 28.8 average, Seattle kept those shots manageable by allowing Grubauer to see almost all of them. If you catch Gru on a good night, that’s all you have to do for him to deliver a win.
Did You Know…
In honor of the Maple Leafs blowing a 3-0 lead to the Blue Jackets yesterday, I’m going to share a memory from the 2020 COVID playoff bubble where the Leafs did the reverse and came back from 3-0 down with under four minutes to go. It remains one of the most improbable late game comebacks in playoff history. (Toronto would go on to lose the series in a winner-take-all game 5).
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!