After a 6-1 blowout of the Kings in Los Angeles, the Kraken return home for a pair of games against the Vegas Golden Knights. Much like their last two games, this mini-series against Vegas will be two games, same time, same arena, one day in between. The Kraken will look to sustain an impressive turnaround that has seen them win four of their last six games.
Standings Note: Although the Kraken missing the playoffs this season has been an inevitability for some time, a Kraken loss tonight would mathematically eliminate Seattle from playoff contention.
Programming Note: With Dylan still under the weather and unable to talk, I’ll be doing ECH Postgame Live myself tonight after media availability. That means Postgame Live will be about 30 minutes after the conclusion of the game, instead of directly after. Follow us on social media for the latest updates and check our YouTube channel for the stream. Thanks for bearing with us as Dylan recovers.
Opponent Spotlight – Vegas Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights came into this season as Stanley Cup favorites, but are now fighting for their playoff lives. They sit just outside the Western Conference playoff bubble and need to win these two games to stay afloat in a competitive playoff race.
To find out how Vegas got to this point and get a more in-depth look at this matchup, listen to this week’s episode of The Deep Dive podcast. Ken Boehlke from SinBin.vegas joins us to talk about the Golden Knights and Kraken and the significance these back-to-back games have for both teams. Ken is a great guest and he always has interesting things to say. Highly recommend giving it a listen.
- Board play – The biggest improvement the Kraken made between their two games in LA was in play with and without the puck along the boards. Offensively, forwards like Victor Rask and Yanni Gourde used body position to shield off defenders. Defensively, bigger D-men like Jamie Oleksiak and Will Borgen effectively used their size to separate opposing forwards from the puck. The Kraken are hard to beat hen they’re winning board battles consistently.
- Manage momentum – Momentum in hockey is difficult to quantify; but it does play a noticeable role in the game. The momentum factor is especially pronounced for the Golden Knights, who look like two entirely different teams when they’re confident vs. not. Vegas’ last game was a perfect example. They went into the third period trailing 3-0 after playing an awful first 40 minutes. But after a quick goal to start the third, they looked like a juggernaut, erasing the entire deficit in under two minutes. If Vegas scores a big goal, The Kraken need to slow things down and not let the momentum snowball out of control.
- Limit transition game – The Kraken saw it in their previous meetings with Vegas: the Golden Knights are dangerous in transition. Limiting odd-numbered attacks will be key, even if it means passing up on some high risk/high reward pinches by defensemen.
Did You Know…
This is a recent memory, but it’s one you should definitely know about before watching tonight’s game. At last Monday’s trade deadline, the Golden Knights attempted to trade Evgenii Dadonov to the Anaheim Ducks. However, due to complications with a no-trade clause, the trade was ultimately overturned. That meant Dadonov had to go back into the Golden Knights lineup knowing they just tried to get rid of him. What must’ve been a very awkward situation has turned into a positive for both Dadonov and the Golden Knights, as he has scored a pair of big goals for them since, including the OT game winner on Saturday.
Since Dadonov could still be traded and Seattle has been listed as a possible destination, we talked with Ken about the Dadonov non-trade and whether he might be a fit for the Kraken on The Deep Dive podcast.
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!