Kraken Game Facts
This Evening: Los Angeles Kings at Seattle Kraken
Where: Climate Pledge Arena
When: 7 pm pacific
TV/Radio: ROOT Sports / FM 93.3
Starting goalies: Cam Talbot vs. Joey Daccord
The Kings present a depth problem for the Kraken, particularly with their strength up the middle. Anze Kopitar, Phillip Danault and Pierre-Luc Dubois present a powerful 1-2-3 punch at the center position. Young winger Quinton Byfield has finally come into his own as a winger on the top line and Adrian Kempe and Kevin Fiala are two of the more underappreciated players in the league.
“For me they’re a very dangerous team off the rush, they have a lot of playmaking ability, so we have to be good there,” Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol said Saturday morning. “Our gaps, the way we handle the puck, the opportunities we give them in transition, we have to be careful with that, and our tracking and gaps and the way we play back into our D-zone will be very important for us tonight.”
22-year-old winger Arthur Kaliyev is coming off a four-game suspension and a flu bout and could be in the line-up. LA lost key defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov, he of a recent, hefty, two-year contract extension, to a lower body injury last weekend. He’s now on injured reserve.
Los Angeles has the best road record in the NHL at 11-1-and-1. The Kings sit in third place in the Pacific Division, nine points ahead of their closest adversary, the Edmonton Oilers.
The Oilers, Flames and Kraken actually all have the same number of points in the standings, 27, but Edmonton has played three less games than Calgary and four less than Seattle.
The Kraken have a two-game home winning ‘streak’ after snapping their eight-game winless skid on Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers. With their stomping of the Chicago Blackhawks two nights ago, the Kraken have outscored their opponents 11-1 over the last two games.
The ‘Hawks were awful; it won’t be easy against the Kings.
Jordan Eberle is day-to-day with a lower body injury and won’t play. He skated by himself on a separate sheet of ice during the Seattle morning skate. Newcomer Tomas Tatar, acquired Friday in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche, will jump on to the top line against LA.
Wingers Jaden Schwartz and Andre Burakovsky remain out of the Seattle line-up.
New Kraken winger Tomas Tatar takes one-timers at the Seattle morning skate.
Who’s Hot? And Not …
21-year-old Byfield, LA’s 1st-round, 2nd-overall draft pick in 2020, has four points over his last four games, with three of those coming against the Montreal Canadiens on December 7th.
Fiala has been a Kraken killer, with the 2nd most assists of any NHL player head-to-head against Seattle since the latter came into the league. That’s ten assists in seven games. He’s the 2nd leading scorer for the Kings at the moment with 26 points.
The often maligned Kraken 4th-line of Pierre Edouard Bellemare, Devin Shore and Kailer Yamamoto has been hot as of late.
Variations of the unit have not done a lot of scoring this season, but Bellemare and Yamamoto have goals in back-to-back games. Yamamoto had two against the Blackhawks and was voted the game’s first star. Bellemare has never had a three game point streak in his career.
D-man Vince Dunn continues to be consistent with assists in back-to-back games and three in his last four.
The Kings went 1-for-4 on the power play against the Jets on Wednesday and have a 20.9% success rate for the season. The LA penalty kill handled both Winnipeg power plays, improving the season PK percentage to 88%, the 2nd best in the NHL.
The Kraken went 1-for-2 on the PP against Chicago and sit just above the acceptable 20% benchmark for the season at 20.8% overall. The Seattle PK killed off the lone man advantage of the Blackhawks and has gone a perfect 15-for-15 shorthanded over the last five home games. Their kill rate is up to 77.9% for the season.
Kings: 16-6-and-4 after a 5-2 loss at home to the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday night.
Kraken: 10-14-and-7 following their 7-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.