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Preview: Kraken vs. Wild

The Need to Knows

  • The Time: 6pm PT
  • The Place: Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle, WA
  • Place to Watch: ROOT Northwest, ESPN+/SportsNet+
  • Place to Listen: KJR 93.3 FM
  • An Opposing Viewpoint: Hockey Wilderness

Know Your Enemy

This game appears to be a battle between two clubs who set high expectations with solid 2022-23 performances that included a post-season appearance but have, thus far, failed to meet expectations. The Minnesota Wild have 22 standings points, just like the Seattle Kraken. They have a middling powerplay (14%) and a horrid penalty kill (74.1%).

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who is awesome, is also letting in over 3 goals a game. The three-time Stanley Cup champion isn’t the goaltender he once was, but the team in front of him has to share some of the blame. Saying that, the Wild’s top defensive pairing of Jonas Brodin and Brock Faber are leading their team in plus/minus, and Jared Spurgeon and Zack Bogosian aren’t far behind. Up front, the Wild have Kiril “The Thrill” Kaprisov scoring at a point-per-game pace, while 36 year old Mats Zuccarello appears to have discovered the fountain of youth.

Path to Victory

So if the Wild’s defensive core is holding its own, and the team’s top forwards are producing, it looks like the Kraken need to focus on the goalie. Hoping M.A. Fleury doesn’t drink out of Zuccarello’s Gatorade bottle doesn’t seem like the strongest approach, but in spite of these teams sitting neck and neck in the standings, Minnesota looks to me to be the better club. That 74% penalty kill is the Achilles’ heel, but we’ll have to see which version of the Kraken’s powerplay makes an appearance.

Kraken snagged a loser point versus the Tampa Bay Lightning, but if anyone in that locker room has intentions of playing in the post-season, they’re going to need wins, even on the second night of back-to-back games.

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