The Seattle Kraken are getting tantalizingly close to landing a playoff spot. They’ll want more of course, but three wins in their final eight games should very well get the job done, even with the Nashville Predators romping over the St. Louis Blues already on Saturday and moving to within six points of Seattle.
The Kraken will have their hands full this evening at Climate Pledge Arena. Although the Kraken have defeated the Kings all three times they have met this season, the Kings will be inspired by the fact they’re still very much in contention for first place in the Pacific Division and potential home ice throughout the Western Conference playoffs.
Three points separate the three teams looking for the top spot in the Pacific, Vegas Golden Knights (99), Edmonton Oilers (97), and the Kings (96). As for the Conference title, toss in the Central Division leading Minnesota Wild (97), Dallas Stars (96), and the Colorado Avalanche (94), and you’ve got six teams within five points.
The Kraken are next with 90, sitting in the first of two playoff wild card spots. If the season were to end this second, the Kraken would be playing the Wild in the first round.
Kraken Vs. Kings
“They’re depth, they roll four lines, six D and everybody contributes,” LA Kings head coach Todd McLellan said of the Kraken after the morning skate. “There’s no secret to that. Every line can score, there’s not a lot of match-ups from our perspective because they’re all contributing. Their back-end gets active and they can score as well so there’s a reason they lead the league in five-on-five goals.”
It looks like Martin Jones gets his second straight start for the Kraken against Pheonix Copley for the Kings, who gives recent acquisition Joonas Korpisalo a rest. “Korpy” has been outstanding since coming over with defenseman Vladi Gavrikov in a somewhat controversial trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 1st. The controversy stemmed simply from the fact that in the deal the Kings parted way with longtime franchise goalie and two-time Stanley Cup winner Jonathan Quick.
Some argue “Quickie” needed to go because of inconsistent performance while others suggest Korpisalo’s great numbers, a 1.86 goals against average and a .934 save percentage, coincide with the team blocking more shots and giving up less scoring chances from the slot since he’s been around. Either way, for fans in LA, the team has been a pleasant surprise the last two seasons.
Two-time Stanley Cup winning center Jarrett Stoll gives us some of the reasons in the video posted above. Recent acquisitions and the play of veteran leader Anze Kopitar among them.
Overall, the Kraken will sport the same line-up from the win over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday. Puck drop Saturday night is a little after 7 pm pacific.