Just like in a two-game series in Los Angeles, the Seattle Kraken have a chance to make good on a do-over.
Their rematch, 7pm PT (93.3 KJR / Kraken Audio Network) against the Vegas Golden Knights will be the second time they’ve faced an opponent in a series, and the final time they’ll face that scheduling quirk with 15 games to go.
The Kraken did not take a morning skate session on Friday. The lesson learned, from Wednesday in a 3-0 loss to the Golden Knights, has a lot to do with pace.
“They’re hard to play against in terms of getting up ice,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “They’re in your face, they pressure coming through the neutral zone, they have big, long (defensemen) that are able to hold lines. You’ve got to make sure you take care of the puck to get into the offensive zone.”
In other words, it’s about thinking one step ahead.
“That’s the game of hockey,” said Hakstol. “You also have to win your one-on-one battles. A lot of it comes down to that. There’s a ton of one-on-one battles that happen every shift.”
“It’s thought process, and ability in tight areas to come up with those fifty-fifty wins.”
Hakstol confirmed Philipp Grubauer will start in net after Chris Driedger took the loss on Wednesday, who had a 27-save performance which followed up 36 stops against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.
“Grubie’s game has been consistent,” said Hakstol. “You mention ‘Dreegs’’ game, he did play well. We’re looking at creating a competitive situation as possible. Dreegs has played well last couple of games. Had our team come away with a win, there would have been strong consideration for him going three in a row.”
Hakstol mentioned Grubauer’s track record of the last three performances, which include a pair of wins over Detroit and Arizona, to open the door for tonight’s start.
“We need a real good performance tonight,” said Hakstol. “We need leadership in that position.”
Grubauer will attempt to help the Kraken track down their first win against Vegas in four tries, with another opportunity put a dent into the Golden Knights playoff hopes. Vegas is one point out of the final spot again after Dallas won last evening, 3-2 in overtime at Anaheim.
The Golden Knights, led by Jonathan Marchessault’s 53 points and 25 goals, are on the second game of a stretch where they are playing six of eight games on the road.
“It’s always tough to beat any team back to back,” said Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer. “One team relaxes a little, and the other team ramps up their desperation level. It’s really hard to sweep a team, we know that.”