Seattle Kraken, Oliver Bjorkstrand

Seattle Kraken And The Western Conference Race

With a full load of NHL games on Tuesday night it felt like a good time to take a peak at the Seattle Kraken’s spot in the Western Conference playoff race and the postseason scramble in general.

The 4-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Monday was definitely a set-back, particularly with the Kraken set to face the NHL’s top team in the Boston Bruins on Thursday and then the loaded up Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. Newly acquired forward Ryan O’Reilly, the former captain of the St. Louis Blues, played his third game for the Leafs and tallied a hat trick against the Buffalo Sabres, another of his former teams, on Tuesday night.

The ‘Buds’ as they’re called by some in Toronto are amped.

The Kraken will try to get re-energized after a difficult afternoon in San Jose. Seattle Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol finished his media availability by summing things up with “we got our asses kicked.” The club was definitely off its usual game.

Interesting to note, Jaycob Megna, the recent acquisition from the Sharks by Seattle Kraken General Manager Ron Francis, has played in two games thus far for his new club and both were shut-out losses. One to the New York Islanders and then to the Sharks, the team with the worst home record in the NHL.

Coincidence? Probably, since the loss to the Isles came out of the NHL All-Star break and the Kraken were flat off a nine day break. New York had played the night before and had their legs. The San Jose loss is a bit more interesting because Megna replaced Carson Soucy, a similar in size left-shot defenseman who’s played 56 games for the team this season. Chemistry seems very important to this club and swapping out Soucy may have upset the apple cart. We’ll see.

Seattle Kraken and the Pacific

The Chicago Blackhawks did the Kraken a favor. The lowly club these days from the Windy City tied their game in the final minute Tuesday night against the Vegas Golden Knights and then won in a shoot-out on home ice at the United Center.

With one point earned the Golden Knights are only three points ahead of the Seattle Kraken on top of the Pacific Division. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Wild beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-1, meaning LA sits just one point ahead of the Kraken with Seattle holding a game in hand.

The bad news: The Edmonton Oilers took care of business on home ice against the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 and moved into a tie with the Seattle Kraken with 70 points. Seattle has played one less game.

Bottom line, the Calgary Flames will have to make up seven points on Seattle to knock the Kraken completely out of the playoffs. Not likely, but with 25 games remaining and a couple of testy matches coming up on the schedule, the Kraken need to be vigilant.

Seattle practices at the Kraken Community Iceplex on Wednesday.

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.