The Seattle Kraken will look to continue their winning ways in St. Paul Thursday evening against the Minnesota Wild, a team coached by Dean Evason, a man who played about 800 games in the NHL at center and who previously coached in the Western Hockey League and for a long time as an assistant in the NHL. It’s the start of his third full season at the helm of the Wild.
The team took a week or two to find its footing this season but has won four of its last five games. The offensive depth isn’t overwhelming but Kirill Kaprisov (see notes from last night) is almost enough to make up for it. What they lack in talent they make up for in effort. Plus they’re developing. Aside from Mats Zuccarello and Marcus Foligno, who’s injured and day-to-day, the forward group is young.
The statistics in terms of wins at home and on the road and special teams are eerily similar for the Seattle Kraken and the Minnesota Wild through eleven and ten games respectively. Both are 5-4-and-1 in their last ten matches.
Let’s Skate …
The Buffalo Sabres have been known to get off to hot starts in recent years, even during ones that turned out to be pretty lean, but this season feels different. The Seattle Kraken took advantage of the Buffalo boys with a 5-1 win at the Climate Pledge Arena as their visitors finished up a four-game western road trip. Otherwise, the Sabres have gone 7-and-2.
Wednesday night they handed the Pittsburgh Penguins their sixth loss in a row, one of those coming at the hands of the Kraken this past Saturday at CPA.
The Sabres have two players on the NHL scoring leader board, with both defenseman Rasmus Dahlin and forward Tage Thompson tied for eight place with 14 points.
Like their 1970 expansion brethren, the Vancouver Canucks, the Sabres have never won a Stanley Cup. This won’t be the year, but maybe after a long stretch of misery, the fans in Buffalo will see some gradual prosperity.
Oh Really …
Oh yes, by the way, the top two leading scorers are Connor McDavid (22 points) and Leon Draisaitl (21) of the Edmonton Oilers, both for the most part playing center on separate lines. ICYMI – See our Pacific Division center rankings.
Next is winger David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins with 18 points.
Hockey Fights Cancer
It’s the 24th year of the campaign and the league is stepping it up, as is NHL.com with its daily Hockey Fights Cancer digest. There were a couple of cool entries for November 2nd including one from McDavid and also from rookie forward Jakob Lauko of the Boston Bruins who scored his first NHL goal the other night.
Lauko said he’s sending the puck to the family of his friend Ondrej Buchtela, who died from cancer two years ago.