At 5-1-1 in the last seven games, two of those wins for the Seattle Kraken have come on their own home ice, at the expense of hockey megastars Alex Ovechkin (Washington) and Connor McDavid (Edmonton).
They look for another one tonight. Coming into town: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Sidney Crosby, winner of three Stanley Cup titles since 2009. The Kraken will aim for their fourth straight win at home, 7:00pm puck drop at Climate Pledge Arena (6:30pm, Coors Light Pregame Show).
The boost from a home ice advantage that continues to grow each game (see above in this morning’s podcast with John Forslund, while Josh Getzoff of the Penguins radio network joins us, too) may get a lineup boost as well: Jordan Eberle, Jaden Schwartz and Calle Jarnkrok were all on the ice this morning, confirmed by Dave Hakstol as game time decisions.
Their departure tested the depth and resolve of the Kraken, answered in resounding fashion with their recent stretch and depth production, for instance, with Ryan Donato earning four points in the last four games.
Then, there’s the “revenge game” factor: Jared McCann, Brandon Tanev, Jamie Oleksiak, and Riley Sheahan were all once Penguins, with McCann and Tanev still fresh from their departures where they played over the last two seasons.
Tanev, in one way, kept the matter insulated.
“You have some friends and old teammates, but ultimately you’re playing for two points,” said Tanev. “Once the puck drops, there’s no friends on the ice.”
McCann was a little more direct on Sunday.
“They’re bringing what they brought to the Penguins,” said Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan. “Jared’s got a dangerous shot on the power play, coming off his strong side on the power play. Tanev’s a motor. His feet are moving. He creates a lot of opportunities through his linemates through his energy.”
“It doesn’t surprise me those guys are having early success. They were really good players for us.”
Philipp Grubauer, projected starter in net for the Kraken as he was seen first off the ice and will face Casey DeSmith, confirmed starter in net by Sullivan.
The Penguins, boasting Crosby’s second three point night in four games, have no Evgeni Malkin (offseason knee surgery) but was seen at a Penguins optional skate in a white, non-contact jersey. Crosby’s ascended running mate, Jake Guentzel, had the fourth hat trick of his career in a 4-1 win on Saturday at Vancouver.
Pittsburgh is 6-2-1 over the last nine games.
KRAKEN MORNING SKATE LINES, PAIRINGS: