After a thrilling 4-3 victory in Montreal, the Kraken head back to home ice for the first time in two weeks. They’ll hope to pick up where they left off, as their last game at Climate Pledge Arena was a big win for the home fans on Kraken Day. Keeping the momentum going won’t be easy with the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions in their way.
If you’re going to the game tonight, make sure to be in your seats early, as Kraken captain Mark Giordano will be honored before the game in a ceremony celebrating him reaching the 1,000 NHL game milestone.
Opponent Spotlight – Tampa Bay Lightning
I’ll refer to my opponent spotlight from when the Kraken first met the Lightning in November:
What more can you say about the Tampa Bay Lightning that “defending back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions” doesn’t already tell you? The Lightning have star power at every position, whether it’s captain and leading scorer Steven Stamkos at forward, Norris Trophy (best NHL defenseman) winner Victor Hedman on defense, or Vezina Trophy (best NHL goalie) winner Andrei Vasilevskiy in goal. Not to mention Hart Trophy (NHL MVP) winner Nikita Kucherov and last season’s leading scorer Brayden Point.
While still a formidable opponent, the Lightning aren’t unbeatable, at least recently. In fact, they’ve lost three of their last four games by a combined 15-6 score. Tampa has the talent to beat anyone, but for a team that has nothing left to prove in the regular season, it can be difficult to bring your A game every night in February and March.
- Give Gru a feel for the puck – Last game added more credence to the theory that Philipp Grubauer thrives when he sees more shots early in a game. The Lightning are going to get their opportunities, and it might not be so bad if a lot of pucks make their way to Grubauer early in the game. Focus on limiting shot quality, not quantity.
- Bend don’t break – As mentioned earlier, the Lightning have lost three of their last four games. They’ve failed to score more than two goals in each of their last three. Thant suggests that their finishing has been worse recently. If the Kraken can keep Tampa to the outside in the defensive zone, the Lightning’s recent play suggests they may have a hard time breaking through.
- Home ice advantage – In their last home game, the Kraken were able to feed off the crowd’s energy in a way they hadn’t done before, scoring three goals in 2:39 to shock the Preds. Coming off a win and facing the defending champions, that same energy should be in the building tonight.
Did You Know…
Chances are you’ve heard of “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky. But did you know he had a brother who also played in the NHL? Brent Gretzky played a total of 13 NHL games, all for the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 1993, Brent had the opportunity to play against his brother. The skill difference was evident, as Wayne led the game with three points while Brent was held scoreless. His was a brief NHL career, but Brent still has the distinction of being half of the highest scoring pair of brothers in NHL history with 2861 total points. 2857 from Wayne, 4 from Brent.
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!