Predators O'Reilly, Kraken McCann

Kraken Game Day 11: Wild Card Battle, Droughts, Goalie Pick

The Kraken have a chance to move to within a game of .500 for the season in a Thursday night match against a team they may need to edge out for a Western Conference wild card spot.

Seattle and the Nashville Predators both enter the game with eight points in the standings.

Kraken Game Facts

This Evening: Nashville Predators at Seattle Kraken

Where: Climate Pledge Arena

When: 7 pm pacific

TV/Radio: ROOT Sports NW / FM 93.3

Key Factors:

Starting goalies: Juuse Saros for Nashville, TBD for Seattle, expecting Philipp Grubauer.

The Kraken are coming off a game in which they did something they had never done before: They beat the Tampa Bay Lightning.

After a four-game roadie the Kraken return for a little home cooking and a chance to avenge a 3-0 loss in Nashville on October 12th during their season opening road trip.

Head coach Dave Hakstol recently juggled lines and found success with some unlikely sources. Defenseman Brian Dumoulin jumped into the play and cashed in on a rebound while winger Kailer Yamamoto was excellent against the Lightning, adding a goal and an assist. The former Spokane Chiefs captain went pointless in the four games leading up.

Yanni Gourde lit the lamp, as did Jared McCann, as the depth and balanced scoring resembled the club’s success from last season.

Gourde is one point away from reaching 100 as a member of the Kraken.

Who’s Hot? And Not …

We’ll stick with McCann who tallied the overtime game winner in Tampa and has three goals and two assists over his last four games.

Top line center Matty Beniers is still looking for his first goal of the season.

We put Ryan O’Reilly’s photo up next to McCann for this one mainly because the former Selke Trophy winner (NHL’s best defensive forward), former Conn Smythe Trophy winner (playoff MVP), and Stanley Cup winning captain (St. Louis, 2019) just played in his 1,000th NHL game on Tuesday night.

Jaden Schwartz and Vince Dunn’s former teammate with the Blues, O’Reilly is clearly the Preds top centerman. signed as a free agent this summer to fill the void left by the departure of Ryan Johansen to Colorado. The latter had demanded a trade out of Smashville after seven seasons there.

Special Teams

The Kraken power play factored into the win in Tampa in a big way, going 2-for-3 and boosting the season total to 7 for 28 or 25%. That’s a number you’d take any day of the week and any month of the season.

The inverse is the penalty kill. The Bolts went 1-for-2 on their PP, dropping Seattle’s PK a bit further below the acceptable 80% benchmark to 76.9%.

The Nashville penalty kill has been much worse, hovering around 69% and presently ranked 30th in the NHL.

Their power play went 0-for-4 in Vancouver and slipped to a still respectable 21.1%.

Keep in mind, at this early stage of the season, with the numbers of attempts limited, percentages can swing dramatically if a team goes 2-for-3 on a power play or 5-for-5 on the kill.

Coming In:

Predators: 4-and-5 after a 5-2 loss in Vancouver on Tuesday night.

Kraken: 3-5-and-2, coming off the 4-3 overtime win in Tampa on Monday night.

Since entering the NHL in 2021 the Kraken are 4-2-and-1 against the Predators.

Kraken PR informs us that Seattle and the Vegas Golden Knights are the only two teams in the NHL to be ranked in the top-10 in hits, blocked shots, and takeaways.

Recent Kraken:

— Kraken’s Goal-less Matty Beniers Puts In Extra Work At Practice

— When Will The Kraken Trade For An Upgrade

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.