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Kraken @ Coyotes PREVIEW: Desert dry spell

Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Need to Knows

  • The Time: 7pm PT
  • The Place:ย Mullett Arena, Tempe, Arizona
  • Place to Watch:ย ROOT Sports Northwest, Cox Cable, Sportsnet+/ESPN+
  • Place to Listen: KJR 93.3-FM
  • An Opposing Viewpoint:ย Five for Howling

The best thing for Seattle is a regulation loss. The best thing for Seattle is a regulation loss. The best thing for Seattle is a regulation loss. {deep breath} The best thing for Seattle is a regulation loss.

After losing to Vegas last night, the Kraken still aren’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but the light is almost completely extinguished. Seattle has lost six games in a row and the offense, one of the best in the league last season, has completely disappeared recently.

Seattle sits at .18% to make the playoffs (Moneypuck). To put that in context, shuffle a deck of playing cards. Draw two cards. If they are the two black aces in the deck, the Kraken are in the playoffs. All other outcomes and they’re out. That is very close to zero, but it’s not actually zero. Sometimes the top two cards of the deck are the ace of spades and the ace of clubs. It’s just not going to happen often (in fact, only about .18% of the time, or about one in 555 tries). Try for yourself if you don’t value your time.

Instead, the Kraken have their eyes on the draft, and losing is better for draft position. We will have plenty of discussion this offseason about what went wrong this season and what the Kraken needs are, but finishing talent is a big issue currently and the best way to get finishing talent is to have a high draft pick. Right now they have a mathematical chance at Macklin Celebrini, the presumptive #1 overall pick in the draft.

This is the cruel part of the draft lottery. The thing that feels the worst (losing) is also the thing that’s best because at this point, what matters is the future, not what’s happening this season anymore.

Seattle played last night without Vince Dunn, who hasn’t played since an illegal hit by Martin Pospisil on March 4th. Seattle is now 1-9-1 without Dunn in the lineup. They are 27-19-11 when he does play. I’m not saying it’s all because of Vince Dunn’s absence in those losses, but this team sure does look a lot different when TikTok’s #1 Dreamiest Kraken is not suited up. Vince Dunn did not make the trip with the team, so he’s not playing tonight either.

Jaden Schwartz, however, did return to the lineup last night against Vegas after missing the previous four games with an upper-body injury. Philipp Grubauer started in net last night, so we will almost certainly see Joey Daccord tonight, as it would be exceedingly rare to start the same goalie on back-to-back nights.

Right now the Coyotes are playing at 5000-seat Mullett Arena where Arizona State plays, about a third of the capacity of a typical NHL arena. I’m told by those who have attended a game there that it’s surreal to see an NHL game in such a small setting. This also happens to be where Joey Daccord played college hockey, so he’ll be very familiar with the setting. It’s not often an NHL goalie gets to start in his college arena. Some real weird things have to happen, and real weird things have happened.

The goal song

Hopefully we don’t hear it too often, but the Coyotes goal song is “Howlin’ For You” by The Black Keys. It’s thematic, it’s a unique choice, and Arizona isn’t a hotbed of music so they can be excused for not using a local artist (unlike, say, Detroit who for years did not). How many songs do you hear that use a kazoo? And above everything else, the song is just good. It’s one of the very best goal songs in the league.

If you want a player on the Coyotes to watch, I suggest Logan Cooley. The 3rd overall pick in the 2022 draft is playing his first season in the NHL and he has boatloads of talent. He did grow up in Pittsburgh but chose to be a Capitals fan instead of a fan of the Crosby Penguins which is a little suspicious, but otherwise he seems like a good egg.

He’s certainly a fast egg.

We only have 14 games remaining. These are the games that build character, the kind of games that, when they do someday have success, you can say “I was there through thick and thin.” We’re all in this together. If the Kraken win, hey winning feels good. And if they lose, the best thing for Seattle is a regulation loss. So really when you think about it, it’s a win-win situation! The Kraken can’t lose!

(Look, I have to find some way to sleep at night, okay?)

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