Where: Honda Center
When: Wednesday, December 15, 2021; 7:00pm PST
Wait, who are we playing? Landlubber’s Guide to the Anaheim Ducks
National TV: TNT (no local TV or streaming available)
Local Radio: 950 AM KJR
SiriusXM: Channel 220
Last Time Out
The final score from the Ducks’ victory at Climate Pledge Arena in November is not indicative of the effort put in by the Kraken. Anaheim never led by more than 2, with the Kraken responding to every Ducks tally with one of their own, until a controversial decision to pull the goalie with 3 minutes remaining. The Ducks pumped in 2 just to rub the Kraken’s noses in it, resulting in the 7-4 final.
Philipp Grubauer was victimized all night, with the Ducks throwing shots at him from literally anywhere in Seattle’s defensive zone. He stopped 29 of the 34 shots he faced, though that number would have likely improved had the Kraken defense done a better job of clearing traffic from in front of the net.
Jared McCann, Jordan Eberle, and Jaden Schwartz collectively put up all 4 of the Kraken goals, including this beauty:
Stats, Streaks, & Droughts
After starting the season as one of “The California Teams” that were supposed to be dueling to stay out of the conference basement, the Ducks are — no, this is not a joke — in 1st place in the Pacific Division. They have won 3 of their last 4, 6-2-2 in their last 10, and have 5 wins and 2 losses to Pacific Division teams to date. The Ducks’ last game was a 5-2 win over St. Louis on Sunday, so they come into tonight’s action well-rested.
The Kraken are at the bottom end of the division, still trailing Vancouver by 5 points, though the win last night broke a 3-game losing streak. Seattle has put up wins against some tough customers in the early part of the season, including Carolina, Washington, Florida, and Edmonton. However, the club’s performance on the road doesn’t instill much confidence, with last night’s victory being just the 4th road win in 13 contests.
Players To Watch
For Anaheim there is one, and one only: Troy Terry. The 24-year-old center has spent the last four seasons shuttling up and down between the Ducks and their AHL affiliate, topping out at 20 points in 48 games last season. This year Terry has found his groove, and the results speak for themselves: 17 goals and 11 assists for 28 points in just 29 games.
Terry has more than twice as many goals as anyone else on the team, and set a franchise record with points in 16 straight games earlier this season. He has slowed of late — if you call 4 goals in 8 games “slowing” — but the job for the Kraken is very clear: neutralize Troy Terry if they want any prayer of winning.
For the Kraken, last Saturday Joonas Donskoi was snaked out of his first goal of the season by the hair on Jaden Schwartz’s ass (quite literally), so the vigil for him outside CPA continues.
schwartzy taking one for the team! pic.twitter.com/lnnJWPUfGC— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) December 12, 2021
Two players who had been without a goal in a few games got on the board last night. First, from the “They Don’t Ask How...” department, it was Ryan Donato...
...followed by Brandon Tanev...
turbo understood the assignment pic.twitter.com/D6JxWtJVWX— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) December 15, 2021
We’d love to see that kind of effort from them again tonight. Jaden Schwartz and Jordan Eberle sit firmly atop the stats sheet for Seattle, with 37 points between them, so they will need to make their presence felt tonight as well.
Injuries, Illnesses, Additions, & Scratches
A few of the Ducks’ key contributors may be unavailable this evening. Center Adam Henrique, having a resurgent year with 6 goals and 10 assists, suffered a lower body injury last week. The two Max’s, Jones and Comtois, are also nursing injuries, though their absence will have less of an impact.
But the real news — fingers crossed, Kraken fans — is that starting goaltender John Gibson is day-to-day and may sit this one out. Seattle might be facing career backup Anthony Stolarz, who is having a decent year, but is an easier problem to solve than Gibson.
For Seattle, the club is still trying to manage their way through a mild Coronavirus outbreak. Forwards Yanni Gourde, Riley Sheahan, and Colin Blackwell (plus assistant coach Jay Leach) are all in COVID-19 protocol. Coach Hakstol played Chris Driedger against the Sharks last night, so Philipp Grubauer will get the start tonight for the Kraken.
Winger Max McCormick has joined the club to supplement the depleted forward ranks. Including last night the 29-year-old has 88 NHL games to his credit with Ottawa, Carolina, and Seattle; so far this season in Charlotte McCormick has 6 goals and 4 assists in 15 games. He was scratched last night; barring injury to one of the regulars he will likely be munching press box popcorn tonight as well, but you never know.
- The Ducks are in the top 5 teams in the league for both power play conversions and penalty killing. Needless to say, staying out of the box is going to be crucial for the Kraken tonight.
- Today is Yanni Gourde’s 30th birthday, but as we mentioned, his celebratory meal — chicken soup laced with molnupiravir — will be served to him at home as he continues his convalescence.
- In case you live under a rock, the Ducks hit the national media spotlight for all the right reasons with this goal from Sonny Milano. Trevor Zegras got the puck and some time to consider his options, and, well, you’ll see...