Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, BC
When: Tuesday, April 26, 2022; 7:00pm PDT
Wait, who are we playing? Landlubber’s Guide to the Vancouver Canucks
Local TV: ROOT Sports NW
Local Radio: 950 AM KJR
SiriusXM: Channel 91
Last Time Out
Having lost the first two outings, the Kraken were looking to get back in the win column against Vancouver when these two clubs last met in February. Unfortunately that was the night the Canucks’ offense decided to unleash 45 shots on Seattle netminder Chris Driedger. He allowed a goal just 11 seconds into the contest, but fortunately that didn’t define his night. He stood tall, stopping 41 shots and generally performing well despite spotty defensive support. But with the Kraken offense going to sleep for the last two periods there was only so much that could be done. Jared McCann and Kraken Legend Mark Giordano had the goals for Seattle; final score — 5-2 Vancouver.
Stats, Streaks, & Droughts
The Canucks have painted themselves into a corner with just three games left in the season: they must win every game, and the Dallas Stars must lose every game, for them to reach the post-season. Vancouver hasn’t done themselves any favors leading up to this point, losing their last three straight. With a win tonight the Kraken can bury the Canucks’ playoff hopes — fitting, given that Seattle has yet to beat their Pacific Northwest rival this season.
Seattle has a mini-slump of its own to contend with. After setting a franchise record with their third straight win against the Colorado Avalanche, the Kraken lost back-to-back outings against the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars before landing in British Columbia. The second period was Seattle’s downfall in both games, being out-scored 8-0 in the middle frame over two games; they out-scored their opponents 5-1 during the other 80 minutes.
Players To Watch
Center J.T. Miller leads the Canucks’ offense with 66 assists and 96 points, and his 30 goals is just two shy of the team lead:
Elias Pettersson — in his fourth full season in the NHL at age 23 — leads the Canucks with 32 goals. The placement on this snipe against Dallas makes my teeth itch...
And another youngster, 22-year-old defenseman Quinn Hughes, rounds out the top three for the Canucks. His 56 assists is second on the team; 31 of those assists have been on the power play:
Injuries, Illnesses, Additions, & Scratches
Vancouver is dealing with a significant number of injured players at present, though few of them will impact their playoff aspirations. Forwards Brandon Sutter and Michael Ferland, and defenseman Brady Keeper, are on LTIR. Forward Nils Höglander is on Injured Reserve. Forwards Tanner Pearson and Bo Horvat, defenseman Tucker Poolman, and backup goalie Jaroslav Halák are all nursing injuries and are unlikely to suit up this evening. The biggest name on that list is Horvat, who has 31 goals for the Canucks through 70 games. Number 1 goaltender Thatcher Demko is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, so it’ll be youngster Spencer Martin in net for the Canucks. Martin has been stellar in his limited action this year, with a .958 save percentage and only five goals against across three total starts.
Seattle added two names to the active roster on Monday, calling up defenseman Dennis Cholowski and goaltender Joey Daccord. If Cholowski dresses for a game this coming week it will be his debut with the Kraken; he has 111 NHL games under his belt with Detroit and Washington over the last four seasons. At Monday’s practice he was taking reps as quarterback on the second power play unit in place of Vince Dunn, who took a hard high stick during the Dallas game on Saturday.
Daccord’s play with the Kraken has been middling — no wins in three starts, .858 save percentage — but his season has gone very well with AHL Charlotte. He is 19-11-2 on the year, with a 2.28 GAA and .925 SV%, and is positioned to be the go-to netminder as the Checkers’ post-season gets underway. Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol indicates that he would like to get Daccord a start in one of the four games this week.
In other roster news, it was announced that forward Jaden Schwartz, having missed every game since late March, is done for the season. Dunn and forward Kole Lind are listed as day-to-day and are doubtful for tonight’s tilt. With three goalies in the mix it’s now anybody’s guess as to who starts which game; follow us on Twitter to keep abreast of the latest in lineup shuffling and starting goaltenders.
Odds & Ends
- Rookie Matty Beniers’ point streak was extinguished at five games, landing him one shy of The Great One for most points to start a career for an expansion team. In the modern era on any team, the record is held by Jonathan Toews at 10 games. Two dudes made it to 14 games over a century ago, but that’s from an era when audience members would return the puck to the ice surface if it went over the boards.
- Incidentally, Matty Beniers will still be eligible for Calder Memorial Trophy consideration in 2022-23. The award, given to the NHL rookie of the year, is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association. Any player who has yet to play in at least 25 games in a single NHL season is eligible; if he plays out the remainder of the season, Beniers will have played in only 10 contests.
- The Kraken officially brought another young talent into the fold on Thursday, signing second round pick Ryker Evans to a 3-year, entry-level contract which kicks in this fall. The 20-year-old defenseman finished his season with the Regina Pats with 14 goals and 47 assists in 63 games. Evans will report to the AHL Charlotte Checkers where he will practice with the team as their playoff run gets underway.
- And lastly, your final Shane Wright Sweepstakes update for the season. With just three games remaining for both the Montreal Canadiens and Arizona Coyotes, neither team can win enough games to catch the Kraken in the overall standings. That places Seattle third-worst in the league as the NHL Entry Draft Lottery looms in early May. Assuming the Kraken do not climb any further in the standings, that leaves them with a 30.5% chance of selecting in the top three, and a 69.5% chance of picking either fourth of fifth.