Gameday Morning Brief – 3/12 @ Montreal Canadiens

After 4-3 OT loss in Ottawa where the Kraken came back from a 3-0 third period deficit, one might be tempted to look at the positives. The Kraken did show resilience battling back late, but the players pointed out that the team’s performance was subpar for most of the game. It’s a sign that moral victories are getting old for a team that’s now lost 11 of its last 12 games. Tonight, they’ll take on the last place team in the NHL in as good an opportunity as ever to get back in the win column.

Opponent Spotlight – Montreal Canadiens

It’s been a dramatic fall for the Canadiens, as the defending Stanley Cup finalists have plummeted all the way to last place in the NHL this season. While few expected this result going into the season, it’s not all that surprising when you factor in that the Habs have been decimated by injuries. Montreal leads the league by a large margin with 443 man games lost due to injury and hasn’t gotten a single game out of Carey Price or Shea Weber, arguably the team’s two most important players in their Stanley Cup Final run.

One recent sign of optimism, however, is interim coach Martin St. Louis, who was brought in a month ago to replace Dom Ducharme. St. Louis has the Canadiens playing winning hockey, with the team sporting a 7-5-0 record since he took over. His coaching style which allows players more offensive freedom has earned him admiration from Habs players, especially younger ones. Keep an eye on small but supremely skilled winger Cole Caufield, who has 15 points in 12 games since St. Louis took over.

Three Keys

  1. Special teams – The Kraken have lost the special teams battle in each of the last four games. There’s no better get right opponent than Montreal. The Canadiens are one of only two teams to have a worse powerplay and penalty kill than the Kraken. Now is the time to build up confidence.
  2. Zone entries with speed – One area the Kraken have found consistent success on this road trip is zone entries with speed. When Seattle forwards hit the blueline after building up speed through the neutral zone, none of their opponents have been able to effectively counter it.
  3. Mental toughness – When Seattle had a goal disallowed for offside on Thursday, they allowed a goal right afterwards and didn’t look like the same team for the next 30 minutes. They’re likely to face some form of adversity tonight and they’ll need to respond to it better.

Did You Know…

Have you ever watched the Kraken struggle this season and thought “I could do better. Put me out there in practice and they’d offer me a contract.” Well, in 2006, a Habs fan who was a rec league hockey player had a similar thought and crashed the team’s practice to show them what he could do. Montreal goalie Jose Theodore played along, stopping all of the practice crasher’s shots before he as escorted off the ice by an arena worker. Needless to say, the fan didn’t earn a tryout with the team. He was lucky to escape without being arrested.

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!

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