The month of March is a blank slate, prepared for many possibilities.
It will also be a time window filled with busy road activity for the Seattle Kraken, away from their own home ice after tonight until Mar. 16. With 12 games ahead until the end of the month, only four will be on home ice. The first one, tonight, prepares them for the third and final matchup of the season against the Nashville Predators for a 7pm PT puck drop at Climate Pledge Arena (950 KJR / Kraken Audio Network).
The Kraken, who scrapped morning skate after what Dave Hakstol said was a precautionary move affecting a member of the traveling party, all departing soon for a five-game road trip which will cross through Washington, Carolina, and three games in Canada.
“We’ve had good practices, we just want to have our energy for tonight,” said Hakstol.
Chris Driedger will get the start in net, his first appearance against the Predators since Apr. 16 of last year in an appearance with the Florida Panthers. He went 2-1 last season against Nashville and is making his first appearance since making a season high 41 saves against the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 21, a 5-2 loss.
Hakstol also confirmed the entire lineup from Tuesday’s practice is available this evening.
“It will look similar to yesterday’s practice,” Hakstol said.
The Kraken can take the three-game season series against the Predators with a victory tonight, last facing Nashville in a 4-2 loss on Jan. 25. The Kraken, off a two-goal night from Brandon Tanev (out for the season with ACL surgery), earned their first ever victory in franchise history on Oct. 14 against the host Predators.
Nashville, playing in their first game since a 3-2 outdoor game loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning last Saturday, hold the first wild card spot in the Western Conference but only have a three point gap from the first teams out, Dallas and Anaheim.
The Predators are the most penalized team in the NHL, averaging 12.8 minutes per game. How the Kraken, empty on their last 10 chances on the power play while adjusting their personnel in practice this week, take advantage of it depends on keeping the crease busy.
“We have to execute better on the power play and that’s what it’s all about,” said forward Marcus Johansson. “We talked about getting more pucks to the net and recovering pucks after that so we don’t have to go down ice too much.”
“When in zone, we have to get pucks to the net and get them back – get them scrambling a little bit. That’s normally when you score goals.”
Pending unrestricted free agent Filip Forsberg leads the Predators with 27 goals while defenseman Roman Josi, second in the league in scoring among defensemen, paces Nashville with 59 points.