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Kraken @ Senators Preview: The Inconsistency Bowl

Player photography provided by @Jennthulhu_Photos on instagram

The Need to Knows

  • The Time: 4pm PT
  • The Place: Canadian Tire Center, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Place to Watch: ROOT Northwest, ESPN+/SportsNet+
  • Place to Listen: KJR 93.3 FM
  • An Opposing Viewpoint: For Sens Fans

Know Your Enemy

After a weird offseason where The Weeknd, Deadpool, and Snoop Dogg unsuccessfully competed against each other to buy the team, a player got suspended for gambling, and they lost a first-round-pick over a clerical error, the Senators have extended their weird and unevenness into the regular season. Due to their Sweden trip this season, they’ve played only 18 games so far, six fewer games than the Kraken.

The Senators have a fair bit of talent but for whatever reason, they can’t seem to ever put it all together. They’ve played good first and third periods, but they have given up the most goals per game in the second period by a considerable margin, allowing 27 goals in the middle frame in only 18 games.

Unlike other sports where each period is played under the same rules for the most part, the second period does have a fundamentally different structure than the first and third periods in that it is the period with the long change.

The second period features a significantly higher percentage of odd-man rushes and transition play, and teams that excel in the transition game with aggressive play moving up ice can really press their advantage during the middle period. The Senators this year have been the worst in the NHL at this particular aspect.

The Senators played in Columbus last night and play at home this afternoon, while Seattle got to wait for them in Ottawa. Since Korpisalo started last night, it stands to reason that Anton Forsberg will be starting against Seattle. Forsberg has struggled immensely this year, and per Moneypuck, he has been the single worst goalie in goals saved below expected rate (minimum 5 games):

That said, they’re 8-10-0, so they haven’t been awful. They have some real talented and dangerous players headlined by Tim Stützle, Claude Giroux, Brady Tkachuk, and Jakob Chychrun. It’s hard to know what you’re going to get from the Senators game-to-game, or even shift-to-shift. They can score in bunches and they can collapse spectacularly within the span of a few minutes.

Game Preview

The Senators have been inconsistent, but so have the Kraken. Hockey is chaotic and random under the best of circumstances, but here we have two teams which are still struggling to figure out who they are and how to make everything work, and the results so far have been underwhelming and frustrating.

Adding injury to insult, the Kraken are down Jaden Schwartz, who will miss 6 weeks with an upper-body injury. Andre Burakovsky and Brandon Tanev remain injured.

Andrew Poturalski was sent down to Coachella Valley and they’re trying Max McCormick instead in his place. Marián Studenič was called up and he just made his Kraken debut. The Kraken have been shuffling lines and lineups because of the injury, which hasn’t helped with cohesion.

Still, although anything can happen in a hockey game, the Kraken are in a favorable spot. The Senators are playing their second game of a back-to-back and no matter how you feel about the Kraken goalies this year, they haven’t struggled nearly as much as likely starter Anton Forsberg has. Moneypuck has the Kraken winning about 3 out of 4 times, and that feels right given the situation.

The Kraken did have encouraging signs against a very good Leafs team coming back from being down 3-1 and forcing overtime, and it does seem like they play better on the road than at home. Here’s hoping they can take advantage of an off-night by Ottawa and continue their Canadian roadtrip with a win.

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