With little to no margin for error typically arriving late in a best-of-seven series, the Seattle Kraken will look to, once again, answer in the face of pressure with a 2-2 series heading into game five, on the road, Thursday in Dallas at 6:30pm PT (93.3 KJR / Kraken Audio Network).
The Kraken will likely show no lineup changes and begin right back to where they started in game four with the arrival of Jared McCann. The leading goal-scorer, who buried 40 on the Kraken side this year, is expected to start on the left wing with Ryan Donato and Brandon Tanev, giving rookie Tye Kartye more time with center Matty Beniers and right winger Jordan Eberle.
“He started in a spot that made sense for us,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol.
Hakstol said they mixed and matched the line combinations based on the progression of game four, where the Kraken surrendered four goals the second period as part of a 6-3 loss, and eventually reunited McCann with his familiar top linemates.
It was McCann’s first game in two weeks, where Hakstol said playing time had to be managed.
“We shuffled a lot of things; it wasn’t just him. There’s a piece of managing some minutes.”
“When you jump back into five-on-five, the penalty kill the power play, we were mindful of that.”
KRAKEN SIGN DEFENSEMAN TY NELSON
Another piece of the 2022 draft class officially entered the pipeline on Thursday, with the Kraken signing 19-year old defenseman Ty Nelson to his three-year, entry level contract worth $950,000 annually.
Nelson’s game exploded with the North Bay Battalion this year, finishing third among OHL defensemen with 76 points while setting a new career-high with 24 goals en route to setting a new franchise record for most points in a season by Battalion defenseman.
He ended the OHL postseason on an 11-game point streak and will join the AHL’s Coachella Valley Firebirds, who open third round action tonight at Calgary.
* Kraken radio color analyst Dave Tomlinson contributed to this story.