Gameday Morning Brief – 3/26 @ Los Angeles Kings

After a 4-2 win in Arizona, the Kraken have their sights set on an elusive goal: the first 3-game winning streak in franchise history. In this challenging inaugural season, the Kraken have won back-to-back games four previous times, but have failed to string a third win together in every instance. Their last two games offer some hope that Seattle could do it. Following an active trade deadline that saw the team lose its captain and five other players, the Kraken look like a new team, one freed from the anxieties of looming roster moves. Those good vibes will meet a tough test tonight against a Kings team fighting for every point in a tight playoff race.

Opponent Spotlight – Los Angeles Kings

After a five year rebuild, Los Angeles Kings management decided last summer that this season would be the start of their return to contention. So far, so good for the Kings, who are currently holding onto the second spot in the Pacific Division. The team is a mix of holdovers from their 2012-2014 dynasty years (Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Jonathan Quick), talented young players breaking into the league (Quinton Byfield, Arthur Kaliyev), and new veteran arrivals from other teams (Phillip Danault, Viktor Arvidsson). The blend has worked so far, even amidst numerous recent injuries to defensemen that have decimated the Kings’ D corps.

Keep an eye on defenseman Sean Durzi. With the aforementioned blueline injuries, the 23-year-old Durzi has been thrust into a much larger role. He’s risen to the challenge, as he demonstrated in LA’s last game against Chicago. Durzi notched three assists while logging a whopping 27:06 of ice time.

Three Keys

  1. Net-front traffic – When a defenseman scores two goals in the same game, it’s usually a sign that forwards are getting to the right areas in front of the net. That was the case for the Kraken in Arizona, as Carson Soucy shot two pucks through traffic and past Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka. Taking the goalie’s eyes away is a tried and true method of scoring goals that the Kraken haven’t done consistently enough this season. Keep it going.
  2. Second PP unit – The Kraken’s second powerplay unit was a breath of fresh air last game. Led by new arrival Daniel Sprong’s one-timer threat on the left boards, that unit kept the Coyotes PK off balance all game with its player and puck movement. Special teams will need to contribute if Seattle is going to beat LA and Vegas. This unit is their best hope right now.
  3. Clean up rebounds – The Kings are 4th in the NHL in shots per game. They like to put a lot of pucks on net. When facing teams that shoot for volume, managing the rebounds that result from those shots is important. That means defensemen need to keep their heads up and identify forwards looking to pounce on those loose pucks.

Did You Know…

Did you know there’s an NHL player from my hometown of Thousand Oaks, California? Well now you do. Thousand Oaks native Trevor Moore has had a breakout season for the Kings, scoring 41 points in 66 games, good for second on the team. Check out his shorthanded goal from Thursday’s game against the Blackhawks that had “Thousand Oaks” trending under the sports category on Twitter. Thank you for indulging me in this moment of civic pride.

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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