After a convincing 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars at home, the Kraken head to the Midwest for a quick road trip that features two games in as many days. It’s the tenth set of back-to-backs for Seattle this season. The Kraken will face the tougher of the two opponents first, with a chance to notch their second win in a row against a team in playoff position.
Opponent Spotlight – St. Louis Blues
The Blues currently sit third place in the Central Division, two points behind the Minnesota Wild. They’ve made some changes since their 2019 Stanley Cup run, getting faster and more skilled to fit the modern game. The infusion of speed and skill has been headlined by a youth movement featuring the speedy Jordan Kyrou and elite playmaker Robert Thomas. Special teams is an area of strength for St. Louis, as they have the third best powerplay and penalty kill units by net %.
- Strong start – This was the number one key last game, but it proved to be so important that I’ll leave it here again. Anyone who’s watched the last three Kraken games can see the difference in Seattle’s game when they play with an early lead versus when they trail early. If you spot the Blues a goal or two, they have the defensive structure to shut down the neutral zone and the speed to burn teams on the counterattack.
- Roll four lines – Dave Hakstol likes to talk about rolling his forward lines, giving all four lines substantial ice time. He certainly did that on Monday, as there was less than a four minute range in 5-on-5 ice time among all the lines. That can be a way to mitigate matchup difficulties- if there are no weaker lines, it’s harder to exploit a mismatch. Doing that again can help fend off the depth of this stacked Blues team.
- PK faceoffs – Last game was perhaps the best Seattle’s PK has looked all season. After today’s practice, coach Hakstol pointed to faceoffs as one of the drivers for that success. When the Kraken win a faceoff to start a penalty kill, they can get a clear and aggressively defend the next zone entry attempt. That will be extra important against the Blues’ powerplay that ranks second in the NHL.
Did You Know…
With a back-to-back against St. Louis and Chicago on tap, I’ll share a memory from a Blues-Blackhawks game. In 2011, Chicago’s backup goalie Marty Turco (who spent the majority of his career with the Kraken’s last opponent the Dallas Stars) saw Blues defenseman Roman Polak leaning backwards onto the boards, so the ever cheeky Turco opened the bench door, causing Polak to fall in. Polak, who was no stranger to dropping the gloves in his career, got a good chuckle out of it. But after this clip went viral, provoking Polak in the lead up to a fight was jokingly referred to by fans as “opening the Polak door.”
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!