Kraken Opponent Loaded
He didn’t mention them specifically by name, but Seattle Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol is well aware of the superstar capabilities the Edmonton Oilers bring to Climate Pledge Arena on Friday night. There’s Leon Draisaitl and then there’s a whole nother level with Connor McDavid, who’s on pace to pile up the highest single season NHL point total since Mario Lemieux in the mid 1990’s.
“Every team is different, teams are built differently,” Hakstol said after practice Thursday. “The game last night (vs. the Calgary Flames) was exactly what we knew it would be, and you know the challenge coming up tomorrow night. Obviously you have a little bit different personnel and you’re facing a little bit different structure in terms of the way teams are built. But you know, it’s an equally great opportunity in terms of two points with a team that we’re very tight with in the divisional race.”
The Kraken and Oilers are tied for fourth place in the Pacific Division with 40 points each, with the Kraken holding three games in hand. With their 3-2 win against Seattle on Wednesday, the Flames moved a point ahead with 41. The Kraken have four games in hand on Calgary.
Seattle will start to make up some of those games during a gruelling road stretch in January. For now it’s simply about taking care of business at home with the Oilers visit and then the New York Islanders coming in on New Years Day.
“The real key is having contributions from line-one through line-four, from D-pairs one, two and three, and having everybody be at or above the bar,” Hakstol stated. That’s our formula for success. We’ve missed the mark there the last couple of nights. We left a point on the table in Vancouver, we left another two on the table to another team that we’re competing for a playoff spot with last night, so that’s the true test for our team. The formula is not hidden for us. It’s not one or two guys, one or two lines. It’s full, complete team effort through our depth.”
Practice was brisk and short for Seattle on Thursday with the main bulk of it concluded in thirty minutes.
The Kraken went 1-and-2 head-to-head against the Oilers last season. Edmonton will be playing coming off two days rest after beating the Flames 2-1 in Calgary on Tuesday night.