Blackhawks Bedard, Kraken Gourde

Kraken Game Day 23: The Kid, Firebirds Recall, Perry Waived

Kraken Game Facts

This Evening: Seattle Kraken at Chicago Blackhawks

Where: United Center

When: 5:30 pm pacific

TV/Radio: ROOT Sports NW / FM 93.3

Key Factors:

Starting goalies: Philipp Grubauer vs. Petr Mrazek

The Kraken are back to where they’re most comfortable: On the road. They have a 4-3-and-4 mark away from Climate Pledge Arena after finishing last season 26-11-and-4 away from home.

Grubauer comes back from a two-game injury absence and should be inserted between the pipes to try and reestablish himself firmly as the number-one.

As Kraken TV play-by-play man John Forslund stated in our recent podcast (16:00 mark), “Grooby” plays best when he’s challenged, and right now the door remains open for Joey Daccord to take over the top spot. Of course, we’ll see how the younger netminder fares with his next opportunity, which could come sooner than later depending on how Grubauer handles the Blackhawks.

Otherwise, Chicago is a rebuilding team the Kraken can pressure with their forecheck. The NHL’s leading rookie scorer is Connor Bedard, the phenom 1st-overall pick from this summer’s NHL Draft. He’s not at a point where he can lift his team on his shoulders and win a game on his own. Seattle should force him into a defensive posture as much as possible with relentless pressure over 200 feet.

The Kraken recalled Marian Studenic from the Firebirds on Tuesday, joining Andrew Poturalski as a recent recall, giving Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol some depth options. The quick, 25-year-old Slovakian winger has 44 games of NHL experience between stops with the New Jersey Devils and Dallas Stars.

Toss in the fact that the Blackhawks announced Tuesday that they’ve waived forward Corey Perry after an internal investigation with the intent to terminate his contract, and you may find a team distracted and in a bit of disarray.

Who’s Hot? And Not …

Yanni Gourde is at his best when playing against the Blackhawks, with 19 points in his career over 20 head-to-head games. He also has a current overall four-game point streak going. As always, he’ll be a key catalyst/annoyance versus Chicago.

Eeli Tolvanen has 11 points over his last 11 games and a six-game road scoring streak.

Jaden Schwartz enjoys Chicago as an opponent with 15 points over his last 14 games against the Blackhawks dating back to his days with the rival St. Louis Blues.

Hot Blackhawks: Seth Jones loves seeing the crooked-S crest. The big defenseman has more points against the Kraken, eight points in five games, than any other Chicago skater. He’s one assist away from 300 for his NHL career.

Special Teams

The Kraken power play went 0-for-2 on Friday night against the Canucks after going 1-for-3 on Wednesday in their 7-to-1 demolition of the San Jose Sharks. They’re now at a 23.5% success rate for the season.

The Blackhawks went 0-for-2 on the PP at home against the Blues on Sunday and have an absolutely miserable conversion rate of 9.7% for the season. Only the Washington Capitals are worse.

Seattle killed off both penalties they took in both the Vancouver and San Jose games. Their season long penalty kill rate remains substandard at 73.9%.

Chicago checks in at 76.7% on the season. Also not great obviously. They gave up a PP goal up to the Blues two days ago.

Coming In:

Kraken: 8-9-and-5, after Friday’s 5-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks at Climate Pledge Arena.

Blackhawks: 6-and-13 after a 4-2 loss at home to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.

Recent Kraken:

— Simmer’s Sunday 9: Kraken Roadie, Head Slash, Trade Rumors

— Seattle Kraken Suffering Through Reality Check

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.