Justin Schultz will be unavailable again Thursday night for the Seattle Kraken as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes. He was injured when he was plowed into the endboards from behind by Florida Panthers forward Ryan Lomberg on Sunday. Schultz left the game after the hit midway through the third period and didn’t return.
Although he received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit, Lomberg did not receive any supplemental discipline from the NHL. This will be the second consecutive game Schultz sits out with an upper body injury.
With “Big Rig” defenseman Jamie Oleksiak also out of the line-up finishing up his three-game suspension, it means the third pair on the Kraken blueline will once again be made up of Cale Fleury and Gustav Oloffson.
“They’ve got a lot of experience playing together, last year in the American League they spent quite a bit of time as D-partners,” Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol pointed out at Thursday’s morning skate in Raleigh. “So there’s some things there we’re going to look at and hopefully clean up a little bit for them, but for the most part they went out and played with confidence. We look for them to build on that tonight, be a little bit sharper in a couple areas, be a little crisper and give us some good minutes.”
((Late Change: Grubauer named starter … ))
According to Hakstol, Martin Jones gets the start in net for Seattle against the Hurricanes. He saw some action two nights ago in Tampa in relief of starter Philipp Grubauer who gave up four goals on twenty shots and was pulled just past the midway point of the 6-2 loss to the Lightning.
In his last seven starts, Jones has a record of six wins against one loss that includes the 5-2 win over the Panthers on Sunday.
Grubauer was the goalie of record for Seattle when the Kraken lost 5-1 to the Hurricanes at Climate Pledge Arena back on October 17th.
Games in Hand
The Kraken remain in second place in the Pacific Division, tied with the Los Angeles Kings with 35 points, the difference being winning percentage as Seattle has played four less games than LA. The Kraken also have three games in hand on the Vegas Golden Knights whom they trail by eight points. Both of those division rivals are also in action Thursday evening.
Seattle actually has played less games than everyone in their division; the Vancouver Canucks having played the next least, 29 to the Kraken’s 28. That will even up tonight.
Game time against the Hurricanes is a little after 4 pm pacific.