Stamkos Lightning, Kraken Bjorkstrand

Kraken Game Day 10; Never Beaten Bolts, Line-up Changes

Kraken Game Facts

This Evening: Seattle Kraken at Tampa Bay Lightning

Where: Amalie Arena in Tampa

When: 4 pm pacific

TV/Radio: ROOT Sports NW / FM 93.3

Over their previous four match-ups against the Tampa Bay Lighting, all losses, the Seattle Kraken have been outscored a composite 17-4.

Their two previous visits to Amalie Arena have resulted in setbacks of 3-0 on November 26th, 2021 and 6-2 on December 13th, 2022.

There’s not much that jumps out to suggest things will be a whole lot different on Monday night, other than the fact Tampa’s all-world goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy is out of the Bolts line-up for another few weeks following back surgery.

That, and the fact the Kraken are in a state of utter desperation.

Key Factors:

Who’s in net for the Kraken? Do we have what’s easily referred to in hockey circles as a goaltending controversy?

The term pops up anytime a number-one is replaced by his back-up for any period of time or if there’s a battle between said number-one and number-two. In Seattle’s case it’s not just jargon, it’s reality.

The Kraken’s $5.9-million per season ‘starter’ Philipp Grubauer hasn’t earned a point in the standings all season while his $1.2-million dollar back-up Joey Daccord lost in regulation for the first time on Saturday.

More on this situation later in the week.

In the meantime, it would seem “Grooby” would be due for a start …

Starting goaltenders: Expecting Grubauer for Seattle, Jonas Johansson for Tampa.

Time for a line-up juggle? Yep. The Kraken have been producing offensively on this road trip but the results have been inconsistent. Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol is moving the club’s hottest player Oliver Bjorkstrand up on a line with center Matty Beniers, who’s been struggling, and rookie Tye Kartye.

“We’ll see what it sparks,” Hakstol said.

He’s moved Jordan Eberle on a wing with center Alex Wennberg and Jaden Schwartz.

“We’ve got to get a little bit of our swagger back offensively,” Hakstol said Monday morning in Tampa. “There’s only one way to do that, and that’s keep working at it, give a little extra until we get there.”

Who’s Hot? And Not …

Jared McCann has scored a goal in every other game since October 19th at home vs. Carolina and he has four points over his last five matches.

It’s Beniers’s 100th career NHL game. He’s looking for his first goal of the season.

I did mention “Vassy” was out of the Lightning crease for a bit, and I also brought up Johansson’s name.

Yes, hot would describe his recent play. The giant Swede is coming off back-to-back shut-outs over the Carolina Hurricanes and San Jose Sharks on Tuesday and Thursday night respectively.

That, by the way, is the last time Tampa played. They’re coming into Monday night’s tilt off three days rest.

Special Teams

By going 0-for-1 on the man advantage on Saturday night, now 5-for-25 overall, the Kraken stand at 20% on the power play for the season. The penalty kill gave up another goal against the Panthers who went 1-for-1 on the man advantage. Seattle ranks 15th in the NHL with a mildly mediocre 79.2% kill rate.

Tampa is dominant in this area. They have the NHL’s third best power play at 94.7% and the fourth best penalty kill at 32.1%.

Five important words for the Kraken: Stay. Out. Of. The. Box.

Veteran Eberle has been guilty of taking unnecessary restraining fouls, such as hooks and holds, as of late.

Coming In:

Kraken: 2-5-and-2, coming off the 3-2 loss on Saturday to the Panthers.

Lightning: 4-and-2 after a 5-0 victory over the Sharks on Thursday.

Since entering the NHL in 2021 the Kraken are 0-and-4 against the Lightning.

It’s a homecoming for Yanni Gourde, who won two Stanley Cup titles with Tampa Bay in 2020 and 2021, and for Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who played the last two seasons with the Lightning. They are the Kraken’s third and fourth line centers.

Recent Kraken:

— Simmer’s Sunday 9: Kraken Hole, Hot Canucks, A Man Stamped

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.