A trio of former players suiting up in teal see their old team on the other side of the ice tonight at SAP Center, where the Seattle Kraken, along with Joonas Donskoi, Ryan Donato, and Alexander True will visit the San Jose Sharks at 7:30pm PT (7pm coverage: Kraken Audio Network).
The Kraken will aim to get back into the win column after three straight losses, regulation or overtime (0-2-1), faced now with an opportunity to grab points by conventional wisdom suggesting valuable scheduling ahead: three games, all against fellow rivals of the Pacific Division - San Jose, Anaheim, and Edmonton.
Donskoi enters tonight still searching for his first goal of the season in game number 28. Metrics suggest at times he's been snakebit - take for instance, in tight games. According to situational bible naturalstattrick.com, he has been involved in the second most high-danger scoring chances (24) on the team. Then, on the comeback trail, his shot on Saturday night drew the Kraken to within 4-2, starting their third period comeback against Columbus but was measured as an assist because the shot on goal glanced off teammate Jaden Schwartz, earning credit for the power play goal.
Donskoi breaking the drought against his former team - where he battled in a Stanley Cup Final among the four seasons he spent in teal - would be an extra boost. Then there's Donato, who spent 50 games with the Sharks last season and True, a former Sharks prospect who broke into the NHL with them, calling tonight's game, "special."
The Kraken (9-15-3, 21 points) face a Sharks (15-12-1, 31 points) team fresh off a 2-1 win over Dallas on Saturday, and in the middle of a season-long seven-game homestand (2-1). Under head coach Bob Boughner, they have managed low expectations after a missed playoff berth last season and stayed within the hunt for playoff positioning in the Pacific Division, 6-4 in their last ten games.
Tomas Hertl, in the final year of his four-year contract, leads the Sharks with 14 goals and is third with 20 points in 28 games while Timo Meier paces San Jose with 28 points in 23 games. Journeyman goaltender James Reimer, 33, played in the 400th game of his NHL career on Saturday and has been lights out, tied with the Rangers Igor Shesterkin for top save percentage (.937).
- Likely the Donato-True-Donskoi line stays together for the reunion in San Jose. Head coach Dave Hakstol said a "very similar look" is coming with tonight's lineup.
- Max McCormick, recalled mid-morning from the Charlotte Checkers, is the sole roster move with the Kraken still missing Yanni Gourde, Riley Sheahan, Colin Blackwell, and assistant coach Jay Leach in COVID-19 protocol.
- One exception to Saturday's lineup: goaltender Chris Driedger, confirmed as the starter tonight by Hakstol, will make his first appearance in net since a Nov. 29 win at Buffalo, the end of back-to-back wins for Driedger before landing back on injured reserve with a lower body ailment.
- Tonight will also be Driedger's first career start against San Jose.
- We're told Grubauer will get the Anaheim game tomorrow night, and the Ducks, by an understatement, are no slouch. Bluntly, they're on a surprise tear, lead the Pacific Division at 16-9-5 (37 points), and the Kraken will look for results similar to their wins over Carolina, Edmonton, etc. to turn avenge a 7-4 defeat when they hosted the Ducks on Nov. 11.