Seattle Kraken, Dave Hakstol

Kraken Crunch Time, Another Must Win?

Take a quick glance at the Seattle Kraken in the Western Conference wild card standings and things look a bit dicey. Seattle, the 1st wild card team, holds just a one point lead on the Winnipeg Jets, the 2nd wild card team, and just a three point lead on the Calgary Flames, the highest ranked non-playoff team.

Should both of those clubs pass the Kraken, Seattle is out of the playoffs.

The Flames have finally decided to clean up their act. They’ve won four games in a row to move to within two points of the Jets. Both of those teams have played 77 games, meaning they each have five remaining.

The Kraken have only played 75 games meaning they have two games in hand, or a potential four points in the standings that the other two can’t get. They’ll make up one of those games Monday night at Climate Pledge Arena against the Arizona Coyotes, losers of three in a row.

Seattle and Arizona play one another a total of three times over the next seven days.

Coyotes Vs Kraken

Despite the recent losses, the Coyotes are, as an old saying goes, “footloose and fancy free”. In other words, they’re playing with absolutely no pressure whatsoever, which can be dangerous. Particularly if the Kraken, a team with everything to lose, start “gripping their sticks”.

Seattle will attempt to overcome the pressure that’s upon them, by sticking to the simplest, truest formula: hard work. They exhibited it in the 3-1 loss to the LA Kings on Saturday night in a game that came down to a break and a mistake.

“That’s our group,” Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol said postgame, “So how do we take that work and find a little bit different opportunity to turn the game our way. That’s really what we have to do. We’re not going to break this down into little pieces, we’re going to take a couple of the obvious takeaways and get going, moving forward.”

A fortunate bounce led to the Kings first goal, a turnover by Kraken forward Brandon Tanev later led to the game winner. That’s hockey. Otherwise, the intensity was consistent and the defensive play sound.

The Coyotes own the 7th worst point total in the NHL, 67, and presently have a 6.5% chance at landing the top overall pick in the NHL Draft. The draft lottery, when final picking order is determined, happens May 8th.

The Kraken won’t have a crack at that lottery. They’ll either finish a very happy 7th or 8th seed in the Western Conference and a part of the playoff grid, preparing for a 1st-round opponent, or a very sad 9th seed sitting in the middle of the NHL pack outside of the postseason.

The next little chapter to this season’s book unfolds a little after 7 pm pacific tonight at Climate Pledge Arena.

Ivan Prosvetov starts in net for the Desert Dogs, with Philipp Grubauer starting for the Kraken.

“Simmer’s Morning Skate” with John Forslund, Seattle Kraken TV play-by-play.

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.