The Seattle Kraken and head coach Dave Hakstol aren’t too concerned about where the standings end up, they’re more concerned about re-establishing their overall game at Climate Pledge Arena in the team’s regular season finale. They wrap things up with the tail-end of a home-and-home against the Vegas Golden Knights. Seattle lost 4-1 in Nevada two nights ago.
“We’re coming off a game in Vegas where, not a lot of pace to our game,” Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol said Thursday morning. “You never know when that’s going to hit, but if you were gonna peg one game, probably a pretty good likelihood of it on a back-to-back, playing our 7th game in eleven days. Just physically and emotionally a little bit slow, and we’re not close to being our best if we don’t have pace.
“We want to get our pace back today,” Hakstol continued. “Day off yesterday, we want to make sure we’re back to the level of play that we expect out of ourselves.”
Philipp Grubauer gets the start in net for the Kraken, presumably a last opportunity to stay sharp before starting the playoffs next week. Laurent Brossoit will start for the first place Golden Knights with Jonathan Quick backing him up.
Joey Daccord will back-up Grubauer for Seattle. Goalie Martin Jones remains day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.
Hakstol mentioned he plans to have news about injured forward Andre Burakovsky in the next couple of days. The club’s leading scorer when he left the line-up in February, Burakovsky has missed 31 games.
Considering it’s the final night of the NHL season for all but four teams, it’s remarkable just how much remains up in the air. With a Kraken win and an LA Kings loss, Seattle will find itself staring at an entirely different set of potential playoff opponents, compared to staying in the 1st Western Conference wild card spot.
A bump up to 3rd place in the Pacific means facing Vegas or the red hot Edmonton Oilers in the first round.
Kraken Fan Appreciation
Meanwhile, the Kraken have no shortage of appreciation for their fans at the culmination of season two.
“I mean, everything,” Kraken defenseman Adam Larsson said Thursday morning. “Even last year it was kind of tough for us and they stuck with us and this year we kind of wanted to emphasize, starting with camp, we wanted to give back to the fans that stuck with us through tough times. This year they’ve been unbelievable every single night, so hope we all rise in the playoffs as well.”
“Really from day one, two years ago, just a tremendous following, great energy in the building, that’s grown this year, that has really grown,” Hakstol said. “It’s a building and a connection that our guys really love, they enjoy it, and and they love playing in that environment.”
Note; the season finale begins a bit later than usual due to the ESPN coverage. Puck drop is a bit after 7:30 pm pacific time.