With the Seattle Kraken heading back to the road after a brief pit stop at home to fuel their tanks ,psychologically and emotionally, a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres was perhaps the high octane optimism they need with a winless Arizona Coyotes team in their way tonight, and a banged-up, and just-acquired-Jack-Eichel-but-won’t-see-him-awhile Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.
After that, a lengthy six-game homestand is next.
The Kraken haven’t seen the Coyotes at all, and the Coyotes have seen a ton of setbacks in a losing streak that is reaching historical proportions. Currently 0-10-1, they lost 3-1 to the Ducks last night which was 7.8 seconds away from an Anthony Stolarz shutout and spoiled by a late Shayne Gostisbehere goal. They are creeping up on the NHL record for longest losing streak to begin a season – 0-14-1, set by the New York Rangers in 1943-44.
Hakstol confirmed Philipp Grubauer will start in net today, owning a 4-0 record in his last four starts against the Coyotes in his career along with a .935 save percentage.
As for Chris Driedger, recently activated?
“He needs more practice time,” said Hakstol. “It’s a combination of that plus as to which start he’ll get, some time in the near future.”
-Hakstol said further lineup changes will be solidified later in the day and “likely we’ll make a change or two,” but confirmed Jaden Schwartz and Jordan Eberle, who had Alex Wennberg by their side in practice on Friday, will stick together.
-Yanni Gourde centered Brandon Tanev and Calle Jarnkrok, a line that Hakstol said “I loved the chemistry” with regards to their effectiveness.
-Can the power play get one? They’ve gone six straight games without a goal, but not without recognition from Hakstol basically “counting” the Morgan Geekie goal on Thursday night as a power play goal. The Kraken made a switch of personnel heading into Edmonton on Monday and that, Hakstol said “the entries have been good, and last couple of games we’ve seen better execution in the zone. That has to continue.” Morgan Geekie’s goal came as offensive residue from generating chances at five-on-four. Once Buffalo returned to full strength, the Kraken still took advantage of vacant space in the ice to feed Geekie.
-Can the Kraken come out flying against an Arizona team still looking to reclaim a shred of energy? Morgan Geekie’s first period goal was just the fourth time in 11 games they scored the first goal of the game. Arizona did not hold morning skate today after late night travel from southern California. They have been outshot in eight of ten games this year.
-The Coyotes have also struggled in the special teams game: next-to-last (out of 32 teams) at just 2-for-27 on the power play, and completely last in penalty killing (63.9).
-Of note: Gostisbehere, who leads Arizona in scoring with five points, played for Dave Hakstol for four seasons in Philadelphia (2015-19).
-Broadcast note: our coverage across the Kraken Audio Network opens at 6:30pm (I’ll join you from our network central studio) while Everett Fitzhugh and Dave Tomlinson take the call at 7:00pm … locally in Seattle, you can find us tonight on 1090 KJR and 102.5 KZOK.
Yesterday’s practice lineup:
Schwartz - Wennberg - Eberle
Tanev - Gourde - Jarnkrok
Donato – Geekie - Donskoi
McCormick – Sheahan – Bastian
Johansson/Blackwell (both on IR)
Giordano - Oleksiak
Dunn - Fleury
Lauzon - Larsson
Soucy - Borgen