Bob and Christine Beniers were so close to seeing their son take his first skate in an NHL jersey, the visualization of a dream come true.
Then, a tight turnaround from a connecting flight, en route from Boston, was too tight. The parents of Matty Beniers missed their final leg into Calgary and were unable to see their 19-year old son log his first career NHL point, in the first period, of a 5-3 Seattle Kraken defeat to the Flames.
They will have no such problems tonight. Beniers confirmed they have arrived in Seattle and will be in attendance, along with Beniers’ sister and brother for his Kraken home debut, 7pm PT (93.3 KJR / Kraken Audio Network) against the New Jersey Devils at Climate Pledge Arena.
“It’s been great to get them here and share this experience with them,” said Beniers. “That’s what kid always dreams of, playing in the NHL with your parents in the stands. Really exciting.”
Beniers said his family would be enjoying sightseeing tours around the city in the hours leading up to puck drop, including a visit to the iconic and adjacent Space Needle. While they load up the memory banks, Beniers will go through the routine day of prep he’s done for so many years, from youth programs to the college level in Michigan, now as a present-day NHL professional.
It didn’t take long for him to hit the scoresheet with an assist against Calgary, and said he understands the assignment with handling the rugged and physical nature of NHL competition, shift by shift.
“Guys are finishing their checks a little more than college,” said Beniers. “Definitely more physical. The way to counteract that is you hit them first.”
“As coaches say, you try to engage physically before you get a puck.”
Philipp Grubauer will start in net for the Kraken, 4-4 in the last eight games since Mar. 12. Defenseman Haydn Fleury, who has missed the last nine games with an upper body ailment, will return to the lineup tonight and was seen taking morning skate line rushes with Carson Soucy.
Jesper Bratt leads the Devils, who will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season, with 69 points in 69 games. He will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
New Jersey comes off a 3-1 defeat to the Colorado Avalanche and will likely be without All-Star Jack Hughes, whose left knee has an MCL sprain and was last seen Apr. 3 when he took a hit against Oliver Wahlstrom of the New York Islanders.
The Devils will get their first taste of Climate Pledge Arena to finish a two-game series, the first played nearly half a year ago when the Kraken lost the finale of their inaugural five-game trip, 4-2 on Oct. 19 in New Jersey.
A lot has changed since then, including the immersion of a bright, young, potential star into the budding culture of Seattle hockey.
“I watched a few (games),” said Beniers, speaking of his time at Michigan this season. “I heard it gets electric in here. When we score a goal, it gets pretty nuts.”
PROJECTED KRAKEN LINEUP, APR. 16 VS. NEW JERSEY: