Kraken This Morning covers the mission for a 4-2 homestand, Chris Driedger emerging from COVID-19 protocol, Philipp Grubauer at 3-0 in his last 3 starts, and the Predators with Everett Fitzhugh and Nashville radio voice Pete Weber, who joined host Mike Benton.
Calle Jarnkrok was so close to getting his chance back in October.
Then, before the first road trip in franchise history, COVID-19 protocol put him on the figurative sideline.
He’ll finally get his chance to fire back at his former employers, the Nashville Predators, visiting for the first time this season to face the Seattle Kraken at 7pm PT (950 KJR / Kraken Audio Network).
“I’ve still got a lot of friends over there,” said Jarnkrok. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
At morning skate, Jarnkrok led the stretch at center ice, an indication of a team rallying around their teammate for a big game ahead, and was seen interacting with former teammates and hockey operations staffing on the bench.
As the hockey world is a small world, Jarnkrok will look to continue a pace that has resurrected a slow start – no goals in 12 games – that now has him on pace to finish with his third best scoring output in his career.
“He had the challenge of going through COVID early on,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “As you miss time early in the year, and you don’t feel great, it’s physically hard to catch up when you’re doing it on the fly. I’d apply that to his first four to six weeks coming back.”
Jarnkrok, who scored the game-sealing empty netter on Sunday against Florida, has nine points in the last 11 games and has put the Kraken in position to finish the six-game homestand at 4-2 with a win tonight.
“What we’ve seen last 20 games is ‘him being him.’ He’s a worker, he’s really intelligent, and he’s got a defensive DNA to him where he’s in the right spots. He’s always above, doesn’t cheat to the offensive side, he works for offense.”
Philipp Grubauer will start in net for the Kraken, who is 3-0 in his last three appearances with a .916 save percentage. Juuse Saros, named to his first NHL All-Star Game coming up a week from Saturday, was seen as first goaltender leaving the ice for the Predators after morning skate (an indication of a likely start for the game) and is at 22-11-2 for the season.
The Predators, victim of the first win in Kraken history on Oct. 14, are 6-3-1 in the last ten games and tied with the St. Louis Blues for second in the Central Division. Forward Filip Forsberg, a potential unrestricted free agent this summer, leads Nashville with 20 goals while defenseman and three-time All-Star Roman Josi, who captured the Norris Trophy in 2020, leads the team with 59 points.
“Offensively, whether off the rush or some of the hardness and playmaking down low, they defend hard. They’re competitive defensively. They’ve got goaltending that’s at the top of the league from day one.”
“Every game’s got a different feel to it; this one’s got a competitive edge to it, in different respects.”
Hakstol confirmed defenseman Jamie Oleksiak remains day-to-day, and defenseman Carson Soucy, injured on Sunday against Florida, will be out week-to-week with a lower body ailment.
Goaltender Chris Driedger, returning to the ice for morning skate, has been cleared from isolation in COVID-19 protocol but will be scratched for the game. Joey Daccord will back up Grubauer.
TONIGHT'S PROJECTED KRAKEN LINEUP: