Philipp Grubauer gets the start for the Seattle Kraken in Vegas on Friday night, his first action since leaving the game in Colorado on October 21st due to injury. The club rode Martin Jones through the duration of the six-game home stand that ended Wednesday, a successful one that saw the Kraken go 4-1-and-1 and earned Jones NHL 3rd-star honors for the week ending November 20th.
“We need everyone on our roster, including both our goaltenders,” Kraken Head Coach Dave Hakstol told us after the 8-5 win against San Jose. “‘Grooby’ is back now and I believe it’s four practices under his belt. I think it’s a really good spot to come back into the net. We make our decisions as we get closer to game day, there’s nothing scripted.”
Having a very confident Jones resting as the back-up creates an excellent situation. Should Grubauer flourish, the club has two highly competent, veteran netminders. Should Grooby stumble upon his return, Jones will be there to step in. Either way, Hakstol has solid options with the team playing every other night for the next five games.
Hakstol told us Friday morning in Vegas that the line-up will remain the same from Wednesday’s victory. He was pleased with the play of big defenseman Jamie Oleksiak in his first game back after missing four games to injury.
“I thought ‘Rig’ was good, coming back off a two week break he was sound, he was solid,” Hakstol said. “His game overall, to me, didn’t look like he missed a beat, I know there’s often a bit of an adjustment coming back, especially in a game that’s a little bit chaotic like that, but overall we really thought his game was sound.”
The Kraken’s last road experience was an excellent one, they swept a three-game trip against the Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild and Pittsburgh Penguins between November 1st and 5th. Outside of the Golden Knights and the New Jersey Devils, the Kraken have the best road winning percentage in the NHL with their 5-1-and-1 record.
This trip continues to Anaheim on Sunday and Los Angeles on Tuesday.