Four wins, five games, life is easy, right?
Well in the course of an 82-game regular season hockey schedule, it never is.
The depth of the Seattle Kraken lineup is in for a test with moving parts all around, in the road trip finale where they aim for five wins in six games, in the first meeting with the Detroit Red Wings at 4:30pm PT at Little Caesars Arena (4pm Coors Light Pregame Show, 950 KJR/Kraken Audio Network).
Second overall pick Matty Beniers will be in the building tonight, though as a spectator. He can’t suit up though (as he’s still playing with Michigan and per NCAA guidelines isn’t allowed to sign an NHL deal until the end of his college tenure). So, with moving parts galore, the Kraken will have to proceed without their top two scorers, Jaden Schwartz and Jordan Eberle, both absent from morning skate and confirmed out of the lineup tonight with lower body injuries. Eberle was removed during Monday night’s 7-4 win at Buffalo and did not return.
Though it’s unknown how Borgen suffered his injury, two of his three blocked shots in the game were in the definitive line-of-fire from Tage Thompson power play blasts in the first period. Borgen later received his first career NHL point and ended the night with the Davy Jones hat.
Before confirmation, the Kraken announced via Twitter that goaltender Chris Driedger (also unavailable, lower body) and forward Calle Jarnkrok, who didn’t make the road trip, were placed on injured reserve, necessitating the call-up of forward Kole Lind and goaltender Joey Daccord from Charlotte (AHL).
Now it puts the Kraken into a mission to secure another memorable win, facing a Red Wings team that is fresh off the plane after a 2-1 win in Boston last night.
PROJECTED LINEUP VS. DETROIT*
Johansson – Wennberg – Appleton
Tanev – Geekie – McCann
Donato – Gourde – Donskoi
Blackwell – Sheahan – Lind
Oleksiak – Soucy
Lauzon – Larsson
Fleury – Dunn
-Philipp Grubauer was first seen off the ice at morning skate today, an indication he will start in net tonight.
-Did you know? The Red Wings have never seen Grubauer before: tonight is projected to be his first ever appearance against Detroit, and his first trip to the crease since last Friday’s 3-0 loss at Tampa Bay, as strong of a test as the Kraken have seen defensively. In his six wins this season: he has a .945 save percentage.
-Mark Giordano remains in COVID-19 protocol, who’s missed the first two games of the trip.
-Ryan Donato is set to play in the 200thgame of his NHL career tonight.
-The Red Wings did not skate this morning, coming off their 2-1 win last night which required goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic to make 41 saves, and earned their third straight victory.
-Lucas Raymond, who beat Buffalo with a game winner in overtime last week, leads the Red Wings with 21 points in 23 games while Dylan Larkin paces the Red Wings with 10 goals. Rookie defenseman Moritz Seider is the first Red Wing blueliner to be named NHL Rookie of the Month since Nicklas Lidstrom in 1991-92.
-Nick Leddy, a 12-year defenseman who won the Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2012-13, will play in the 800thgame of his NHL career tonight.
-Detroit gives up a lot of shots. Fourth most in the NHL, to be exact (34.1). The Red Wings were complimentary on how they kept shots to the outside last night against Boston, but they will be playing a home game fresh off the plane (ask how it went for Florida last week). Can the Kraken take advantage? Detroit is 2-2 when playing in back-to-back games.
* Kraken radio analyst Dave Tomlinson contributed to this report, big thanks to him.