Foe Sam Reinhart, Kraken Oliver Bjorkstrand

Kraken Game Day 9; Continued Dominance? Daccord!

Kraken Game Facts

This Evening: Seattle Kraken at Florida Panthers

Where: FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida

When: 3 pm pacific

TV/Radio: ROOT Sports NW / FM 93.3

The Kraken head further south off of their 3-2 overtime loss in Raleigh, North Carolina on Thursday night. A victory against the Panthers would put them frighteningly close to their October win/loss ledger from last season. Not a bad thing.

A loss would simply be frightening.

Here’s the difference record-wise should the game end one-way-or-the-other in regulation: 3-4-and-2 or 2-5-and-2 heading into Tampa.

In other words, this one’s a biggee.

The Panthers, the Eastern Conference representatives in the Stanley Cup Final this past spring, are presently sporting a .500 record and an overall goal-differential just one short of even.

Key Factors:

Starting goaltenders: Expecting Joey Daccord for Seattle, Sergei Bobrovsky confirmed for Florida.

One may wonder: who the heck is Eetu Luostarinen?

Talk about flying under the radar; the 24-year-old Finn just happened to have 17 goals, 26 assists and a plus-19 goal differential rating through 82 games last season and recently signed a three-year contract extension paying him $3-million per season. He’s the Panthers conscientious 2nd-line center.

He’s also a countryman of Florida 1st line center Aleksander Barkov (don’t let the name fool you, he was born in Finland and plays for their national teams). Barkov is expected to return after missing last game due to illness.

The Panthers are without two key defensemen, both of whom had off-season shoulder surgery. That would be Brandon Montour and former 1st-overall NHL Draft pick (2014) Aaron Ekblad. Forward Sam Bennett and D-man Dmitri Kulikov were day-to-day.

Seattle is absent two forwards. Both Brandon Tanev, who missed seven games after being injured in the season opener, and Andre Burakovsky, who missed two matches since getting hurt last Saturday, are week-to-week.

This Kraken line-up has produced some bright moments over the last two games, but will likely see some juggling from head coach Dave Hakstol should things get off to a slow start.

Tye Kartye – Matty Beniers – Jordan Eberle

Jaden Schwartz – Alex Wennberg – Oliver Bjorkstrand

Jared McCann – Yanni Gourde – Eeli Tolvanen

Devin Shore – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Kailer Yamamoto

Vince Dunn – Adam Larsson

Jamie Oleksiak – Will Borgen

Brian Dumoulin – Justin Schultz

Philipp Grubauer

Joey Daccord

Who’s Hot? And Not …

Bjorkstrand scored one of Seattle’s goals last game and made a beautiful pass to create the other one. He has six points over his last four games.

‘Sophomore Slump’ talk will grow as top-line center Beniers has failed to score a goal in the first eight games and has posted a total of three assists.

27-year-old top-liner Sam Reinhart leads the Cats with nine points in six games, including a four-game stretch in which he tallied two-points-per-game from October 14th to the 21st.

Special Teams

By going 0-for-1 on the man advantage on Thursday night, now 5-for-24 overall, the Kraken stand at 20.8% on the power play for the season. The penalty kill came back down to Earth statistically by giving up three power play goals to the Red Wings on Tuesday, but then held the Canes to 0-for-1 two nights later. Seattle ranks 13th in the NHL with a still-above-average 82.6% kill effectiveness.

The Florida power play went 1-for-4 against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, but sits in the bottom tier of the league with a 12.5% success rate. Part of that relates to missing one of their PP quarterbacks in Ekblad and unhealthy forwards coming in and out of the line-up.

On the penalty kill they gave up one goal on three Sharks power plays, which fits, because Florida has the absolute worst PK in the NHL thus far, hovering around 65%.

Coming In:

Kraken: 2-4-and-2, coming off the 3-2 overtime loss on Thursday to the Hurricanes.

Hurricanes: 3-3, off a 3-1 home win against San Jose on Tuesday. They’ve had three days off.

The Kraken are 3-and-1 all-time against the Panthers and have won both of their previous visits to south Florida.

Recent Kraken:

— Kraken Goalie Joey Daccord Sets Save Record In OT Loss

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.