So it begins:
A total of 15 games in the next 32 days will demand the most out of the Seattle Kraken, who are getting results from their goaltending at the right time. The stretch starts tonight at KeyBank Center for a 4pm PT puck drop, visiting the Buffalo Sabres for the second and final meeting.
By the results of the last seven days, goaltending is becoming front and center of their strength. Philipp Grubauer, busier than a termite in a sawmill, helped propel the Kraken to wins over early season contenders in Washington and Carolina. Then Chris Driedger showed up against his former team and delivered a first star, 33-save performance against the Florida Panthers for the third win in four games.
By serving notice, the Kraken have punched out teams combining to go 42-9-9 heading into last Saturday.
Driedger gets the start again today at Buffalo, the second time the Sabres will see him in his career.
-Hakstol said this morning no changes to the lineup, aside from a few tweaks in line combinations we’ll likely learn of shortly before puck drop.
-Also meaning: Mark Giordano remains in COVID-19 protocol, who’s missed the first two games of the trip.
-Defenseman Will Borgen is in again, facing his old Sabres teammates after the Kraken picked him up in the expansion draft. Borgen, waiting until Nov. 27 to make his Kraken debut, came through with a solid first outing: 13:51 of ice time, five blocked shots.
-Can the power play keep it going? The Kraken are best in the league since Nov. 9, going 8-of-23 (34.8). Jared McCann leads them with five power play goals.
-Next goal or assist for Yanni Gourde will be the 200thpoint in his NHL career.
-Last meeting: Jordan Eberle burned the Sabres with a natural hat trick (first in franchise history), 25 days ago at Climate Pledge Arena to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 win. Eberle’s 11 goals lead the Kraken, tied for 11thin league goal scoring with Steven Stamkos and Pierre-Luc Dubois.
-The Sabres, who have expectedly slowed their roll since starting the season 5-1-1, have just one win in the last six games (1-5-1) and lost, 3-2 in overtime at Detroit on Saturday. November has treated them rough: 3-8-2 record, allowing four goals or more on nine occasions.
-Tage Thompson, who scored one of two Sabres goals in Seattle, has taken the Buffalo lead in points (15) and goals (10), using his imposing 6-foot-7, 218 pound frame to rip off five goals in the last five games, and leads the Sabres with five multi point games.