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Preview: Kraken vs. Canucks

Whale, whale, whale, what do we have here?

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NHL: OCT 01 Canucks at Kraken Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Need To Knows

The Time: 7pm PT

The Place: Climate Pledge Arena in beautiful Seattle, Washington

Place to Watch: ROOT Northwest

Place to Listen: KJR 93.3

Know Your Enemy

As the first match up with Seattle’s closest geographical opponent nears, let’s check the standings and see how the Vancouver Canucks are doing.

Nope, look further down.

Further...

Ah! there they are. I’d heard whales are capable of swimming the ocean depths, but this is Marianas Trench territory. Vancouver is 0-5-2, and they’ve already set a record for losing leads in this young NHL season. As Kraken fans, we’ve certainly been there, and this season has already had ups and downs, but we had an excuse last year. The Canucks simply should be better than this.

Goaltending

Vancouver has a legitimate starting goaltender in Thatcher Demko, but he has yet to make an appearance in 6 starts. With a goals against average of 4.07 and a save percentage of 0.872, he might be worried about losing his job if backup Spencer Martin wasn’t just as bad in his single start.

Young guns

Vancouver fans have been talking about their budding crop of star players for the past few years. Of Elias Pettersson, Vasily Podkolzin, and new arrival Andre Kuzmenko, only the first is putting up good numbers and amongst the wider roster there aren’t many plus players.

Vancouver Canucks v Seattle Kraken Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Defense

While not a particularly old group, the Canucks’ defense can’t protect a lead this year. Oliver Ekman-Larsson seems to be in early decline and the promising Quinn Hughes is hurt, and unlikely to play on Thursday night.

All in all, the Canucks are ripe for the taking.

Game Preview

Seattle’s own performance is difficult to predict this season. After absolutely dominating the defending Cup champions on Friday evening, they finished out the weekend by squandering a lead of their own to the lowly Chicago Blackhawks. No team is more clearly in the “Fall hard for Bedard” race than Chicago, so those were two important and attainable points left on the board, disappointing after a decent showing against three very good teams the week prior.

NHL: OCT 23 Kraken at Blackhawks Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Vancouver had Seattle’s number last season, the Kraken going 0-4 and never scoring more than twice while the Canucks put up 19 goals. Nobody wants to be the first team to lose to them but it’s worth noting that Vancouver has led a good portion of its games, they just can’t seem to close out the wins, a trait which no doubt sounds suspiciously familiar to Kraken fans. Vancouver will be desperate but surely fragile as well, and an early lead might shatter their shaky confidence.

Bold Prediction: Two goal evening for Matty Beniers.