Forward Yanni Gourde is the poster boy for the Seattle Kraken road warriors, a team that’s won its last seven games away from Climate Pledge Arena. Gourde is averaging just more than a point a game in his last 18 road tilts and presently has a four-game road point streak. Coincidentally, he’s a point-a-game man head-to-head against the Oilers over his last four.
Tuesday night’s game at Rogers Place will be the third of four between Seattle and Edmonton this season, the teams having split the first two games. Both road teams were winners, the Oilers in Seattle 7-2 on December 30th and the Kraken in Edmonton 5-2 four nights later on January 3rd. That was the first stop on the Kraken’s sweep of their recent seven-game road trip.
Reviewing this opponent doesn’t take much exercise.
One: Connor McDavid. The NHL’s leading scorer and other-worldly performer with 83 points can score whenever and from wherever. Once he turns on the jets, hang on for dear life.
Two: Leon Draisaitl: The German sometimes linemate of McDavid’s just happens to be second in NHL scoring with 68 points.
Three: The power play: Stay out of the box. We repeat: stay out of the box. The Oilers click on the man advantage just short of 32% of the time. Simply ridonkulous. Although showing signs of improvement, the Kraken penalty kill is still second-worst in the NHL (69.2%).
Did we mention “stay out of the box”.
By the way, this ultimately applies to the Oilers as well, with their very poor 74.2 penalty kill percentage. Seattle scores on the PP 20.6% of the time.
— All that said, there’s also the dark side of the Oilers that the Kraken can expose. Edmonton tends to run around a bit in its own zone and struggles against tenacious, hard working forechecks.
— Avoid a track meet? Not necessarily. Although McDavid is supersonic, the Kraken as a whole might have as much team speed as anyone. Part of that is simply the pace in which they play, not necessarily flat out individual speed.
If the Kraken get in on their forecheck, the Oilers will get into trouble.
— How about Vince Dunn? The Kraken D-man can set a new franchise record eight-game point streak if he records a goal or an assist on Tuesday night. He has 11 points over the seven game streak.
— In net it’ll be Martin Jones for the Kraken against Jack Campbell for the OIlers.
Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos remains one goal away from the elusive career benchmark of 500. He had some elongated time staring at an empty Kraken net late in the game on Monday but his teammates couldn’t get him the puck in the 4-1 victory.
Stamkos has just two goals in his last 14 games as he’s crept slowly towards the milestone. He did pick up number-499 at home against the Vancouver Canucks five nights ago.
Guess what? Captain “Stammer” and the Bolts play the Canucks again Wednesday night in Vancouver.
What are the odds? We’ll go out on a limb and say he gets it.
Enjoy the Hockey Action !!