The Need To Knows
Time: 7:00 pm PT / 10:00 pm ET
The Place: Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle
Where to Watch: ROOT-NW or ESPN+ if out of market
Where to Listen: KJR 93.3
An Opposing Viewpoint: All About the Jersey
Know Your Enemy
On one side, you have a team that a lot of analysts thought would be good in 2021-22, but awful goaltending killed their chances and they ended up with a top 4 pick instead. The season started out rough with fans wanting to fire the coach, but the goaltending got better, the team is scoring a bunch, their road dominance is setting records, and they are one of the true surprises of the season led by their young future superstar.
And on the other side, you have the Seattle Kraken.
The Devils are 29-12-3 with 61 points this season and they look every bit of it. The only teams that have a higher goal% than Seattle are Boston and New Jersey.
The Devils are a lot like the Kraken, but further along in their trajectory. The 2019 No. 1 overall pick Jack Hughes is having an MVP-caliber season. Forwards Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt, and defenseman Dougie Hamilton are the other names who are having outstanding seasons, but like the Kraken, the Devils are deep. They come in waves and they score in bunches.
This January schedule for the Kraken has been brutal.
Seattle played 9 games in 14 days. This part of the schedule is a real grind. The good news about starting off a very tough January is when you win your first eight games, you’ve earned yourself some breathing room.
The Devils facing the Kraken feels like an early phase Marvel movie, where the hero runs into the villain who has a similar set of superpowers as them and they have to learn how to overcome this version of themselves. The road record (the Devils are 18-2-1 on the road), the depth, the young star. There’s even history between these two teams when Jeremy Lauzon hit Jack Hughes last year, causing him to miss nearly six weeks. Thankfully his career has not seemed to suffer.
In the side character plots, Nathan Bastian was Seattle’s expansion pick from New Jersey and is back with the Devils. Seattle’s expansion pick from Washington, Vitek Vanacek, also plays for the Devils.
For origin stories, Matty Beniers scored his first career goal against the Devils. The incomparable John Forslund on the call:
The Kraken have scored the most 5-on-5 goals this season. The Devils have scored the second-most. Hide your goalies. Or at least be on top of your game defensively.
Seattle has to get through this tough stretch (New Jersey on Thursday, then the defending Stanley Cup champs coming to town on Saturday) and things will clear up, as the Kraken have the 2nd easiest remaining schedule based on opposing points.
This should be a really good game between two similar teams with similar profiles and both have been an absolute blast to watch this year. This is one of the more entertaining Kraken matchups we move into the second half of the season.