Game Night: Kraken search for 4-0 vs. Canucks at 6:30pm

New Jersey Devils v Seattle Kraken

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - APRIL 16: Matty Beniers #10 of the Seattle Kraken warms up before the game against the New Jersey Devilsat Climate Pledge Arena on April 16, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

More changes to the Seattle Kraken lineup spell a tell tale design of perhaps what’s ahead for opening night, and the competition for one of the final remaining roster spots which could take more shape tonight when the Kraken, 3-0 in pre-season, host the Vancouver Canucks, 6:30pm PT (950 AM KJR) at Climate Pledge Arena. 

“As we get deeper into camp, the lineup means a little bit more,” Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol told 93.3 KJR-FM. 

“There is some competition happening. When you look at the lines, especially the bottom two lines, there’s some competition that’s in play. When you look at the back end, you’re looking at the combinations that make sense, and can work, and show a little bit of chemistry.” 

After the pre-game ceremonies where it’s expected the Kraken will introduce their new mascot, whose identity remains extremely top secret, both teams will meet for the final time in a home-and-home format. The Kraken beat the Canucks, 4-3 in overtime on Thursday with a relatively inexperienced lineup as far as NHL resumes. 

It’ll be a different dressing room this evening. Matty Beniers, Jared McCann, Andre Burakovsky, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Vince Dunn, Adam Larsson, Justin Schultz, Jamie Oleksiak, Yanni Gourde and Philipp Grubauer – all who are entrenched as returning pieces – did not play Thursday and will suit up tonight. 

Shane Wright, in his bid to crack the opening night lineup at age 18, will play in his third straight game and bagged his first pre-season point in the first period at Vancouver. 

Daniel Sprong will also get another shot to make a big impression. He came over with an expiring contract in the Marcus Johansson trade with the Washington Capitals last March, but six goals in 16 games with the Kraken wasn’t enough to land a full deal this past summer, and is battling for a roster spot on a professional tryout offer.

He scored the game’s first goal in Tuesday’s 3-0 win against Calgary. 

“Going into free agency and not getting what I wanted was kind of a wake up call,” said Sprong. 

“I want to make a statement.” 

Philipp Grubauer will start for the Kraken and is likely to play the full game.  

The Canucks are 0-1-2 in the pre-season and are expected to suit up goaltender Thatcher Demko, and regulars such as J.T. Miller, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Bo Horvat, Tanner Pearson, Nils Hoglander, and Vasili Podkolzin. 

Andrei Kuzmenko, a top Russian free agent this summer who scored twice in the first period on Thursday, will also play. 




Kraken radio play-by-play announcer Everett Fitzhugh contributed to this story.

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