The Kraken have an opportunity to hopscotch over the St. Louis Blues in the playoff chase this evening with a win in regulation. Seattle trails the Blues by one point and sits four points out of the 2nd and final wild card spot in the NHL’s Western Conference.
The key statistics and the “hots and nots” came this morning. The major story otherwise is the improving health of the home team Kraken.
Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol will have options with his line-up. It’s quite possible we’ll see both Matty Beniers and Yanni Gourde returning to action in the center position. Gourde for sure.
Other players have been ill or dinged up. One of them is Jaden Schwartz, poised to play in his 700th career NHL game against the team with which he won a Stanley Cup in 2018.
“You grow up as a kid just dreaming and watching hockey and then to be able to live out your dream in different ways is pretty exciting,” Schwartz said Friday morning. “For me and my family, we’ve had a lot of good teammates over the years, kind of with me and supporting me and yeah, it means a lot. It’s something that every every guy enjoys, hitting different milestones for sure.”
Eeli Tolvanen is the other game time decision. One’s gut would indicate, given the importance of the match, that Kraken fans in attendance will see the trifecta of Beniers, Schwartz, and Tolvanen all performing.
With the improved health, the Kraken will need to see improved play. Despite a 6-2 win over the lowly Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night, Seattle clearly wasn’t at its best.
“We’re gonna have to be a lot tighter and more consistent tonight,” Hakstol said. “This team will hurt you if you give them opportunities. They’re they’re going to generate enough opportunities by how hard they work and by the things they do. They can’t get free opportunities off the things that we do, so our consistency and our level of mental focus has to be elevated from where we were two nights ago.”
Hockey is a game of mistakes and the team that wins is the one that forces them and takes advantage more often.
The Kraken will try to be that team on what should be a raucous Friday night at Climate Pledge Arena.