What: Nashville Predators at Seattle Kraken
Where: Climate Pledge Arena
When: Tuesday, January 25, 2022; 7:00pm PST
Wait, who are we playing? Landlubber’s Guide to the Nashville Predators
Local TV: None! It’s a streaming exclusive
Streaming: ESPN+ or Hulu Live
Local Radio: 950 AM KJR
SiriusXM: Channel 219
Last Time Out
The first time these two teams met was a pretty exciting day for Seattle Kraken fans: it was the day the Kraken got their first win in franchise history! Seattle won that one 4-3 in a pretty odd (ominous?) fashion. Holding a 3-2 lead after two periods, Seattle went on to get outshot 13-1 in the third. Their only shot on net was an empty netter by Brandon Tanev, meaning Nashville goaltender Juuse Saros could have simply sat down and made snowmen for 20 minutes and it would have essentially made no difference. Thankfully, sitting back and nursing a 1-goal lead for the final 20 minutes has not become a pattern for the Kraken.
The team itself looked noticeably different last time out as well. Seattle was without Yanni Gourde and former Predator Calle Järnkrok, and Alex Barré-Boulet and Nathan Bastian were both on the ice in Kraken sweaters. Barré-Boulet even had an assist in this one on Alex Wennberg’s go-ahead goal in the second period. Jared McCann and Brandon Tanev had the other goals for Seattle, — one each on the power play plus another for Tanev on the empty net.
Stats, Streaks, & Droughts
Seattle comes in feeling much better about themselves of late. They’ve won 3 of their last 4 games, with the most recent win being over the (at the time) NHL-leading Florida Panthers. Philipp Grubauer has really begun finding his groove over that time as well. He’s allowed 7 goals total in his last 3 starts, posting a .916 save percentage — miles better than the season-long .880 he had going into those games.
The Predators are coming into this one as winners of their last 2 games. They’ve got multiple winning streaks of 5+ games just this season, with an impressive 13-2-1 stretch of hockey in December and early January. They’ve cooled off a touch, but only a touch, and sit in third in the Central division. They’re doing it without any one star forward too — Nashville currently has 6 different skaters with double-digit goals on the year. It’s a full team effort out there in Nashville this season.
Players To Watch
Roman Josi is third among NHL defensemen with 42 points on the year and is the only NHL defender with multiple 4-point outings this season. He’s on pace for career-highs in goals and assists.
Josi will not be representing the Predators at the All-Star game, however. That honor belongs to the man in net, Juuse Saros. Saros has started 35 of Nashville’s 43 games and currently has the league’s 6th-best save percentage. He also might have the save of the year too.
Injuries, Illnesses, Additions, & Scratches
Carson Soucy looks like he could miss a chunk of time, as head coach Dave Hakstol referred to him as “week-to-week” after practice this morning. Fellow large defenseman Jamie Oleksiak is still out with a lower-body injury that’s caused him to miss the past 3 games. The blue line is getting a bit thin now, which is why Seattle called up Cale Fleury from Charlotte to join the team’s taxi squad earlier this week. Seattle has 6 healthy defensemen right now, but should one of them be unexpectedly placed on the Covid list (not improbable this season) we might see a bouquet of Fleurys manning the blue line for Seattle.
Chris Driedger is recovering from his stint in the Covid protocol, but isn’t quite in game-shape just yet. It’ll be Joey Daccord backing up Philipp Grubauer tonight.
The Predators are relatively healthy coming into this one. They have only one player — Eeli Tolvanen — in Covid protocol right now. Defenseman Dante Fabbro is also out with an upper-body injury. Fabbri plays the third-most minutes on average for the Predators at even strength, so it is a real loss.