Kraken host the Blue Jackets: PREVIEW

The Need to Knows:

The Time: 7pm PT

The Place: Climate Pledge Arena in beautiful Seattle, WA

Place to Watch: ROOT Northwest, ESPN+ for out-of-market fans

Place to Listen: KJR 93.3fm

An Opposing Viewpoint: The Cannon

Know Your Enemy:

Game Notes:

This is Oliver Bjorkstrand’s first game against the Blue Jackets since being traded this past offseason. Seattle is the first home he’s known outside of Columbus in his year career, so it’ll be the first time he’s ever had a chance to play against a former NHL team of his. He played alongside current Kraken teammate Alex Wennberg in six of those seven seasons in Columbus as well.

The Kraken are coming into this one hurting. Justin Schultz, Jaden Schwartz, and Matty Beniers are all dealing with some injury or another, and the week off for the All-Star Break really can’t come soon enough. With those guys out, expect to see more Ryan Donato, Daniel Sprong, and Brandon Tanev in the top-six forward group tonight. Max McCormick is also expected to get his first ice time with the Kraken this season.

Both teams played just last night, so it could be a slow start for both sides. With Martin Jones and Joonas Korpisalo getting the starts yesterday, expect tonight’s goaltender matchup to be Philipp Grubauer vs Elvis Merzlikins. This is good news for two reasons: first, Grubauer has been better this year than you might think. But second, and more importantly, Merzlikins has been brutal this year. Per Evolving Hockey, Merzlikins ranks dead last in goals saved above expectation. His .868 save percentage is the worst in the National Hockey League for any goalie to play at least 11 games. This is a guy the Kraken offense can take advantage of, regardless of how injured they may be.

Let’s head into the break on the right foot, shall we? We’ll see you at 7!