Know your foe. The NHL Pacific Division’s last place club, the first-year Seattle Kraken visit the 6th-place Vancouver Canucks Monday night looking for a little revenge and to play spoiler. The Kraken have no playoff shot while the Canucks have a remote chance at the postseason.
Vancouver ruined the Kraken’s franchise home opener back on October 23rd with a 4-2 victory and then stepped all over Seattle’s New Year’s Day party with a 5-2 road win. With this game postponed from December during the most recent Covid outbreak, it’s the first time the new franchise visits Rogers Arena.
There is no room for error. A loss tonight for the Canucks and management could legitimately start to change its mindset from “let’s wait and see if the boys can keep this season’s comeback story alive” to “let’s see what changes we can start to make looking ahead.” The Canucks are seven points back of the final two Western Conference playoff positions and simply can’t afford to lose.
Both teams have been notorious for getting off to slow starts, both the Kraken and Canucks have a grand total of 34 1st-period goals this season. Seattle’s first period goal differential is a whopping minus-21 while Vancouver’s is minus-13. Kraken and national US TV play-by-play man John Forslund has a humorous solution that you’ll hear in a moment.
The Kraken are 16-31-and-4 this season while the Canucks check in at 23-22-and-6.
Canucks defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, despite leaving the game against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night in the third period, is healthy and ready to go. Brad Hunt replaces injured Kyle Burroughs on the blueline, the latter week-to-week with an upper body injury.
In net it will be the Vancouver Canucks Thatcher Demko against Chris Driedger at the other end.
“Forzie” gives a tidy, concise update on what you’ll be looking at when you see the Kraken this evening. Their leading goal scorer and point getter is Jared McCann with 20 and 32 respectively, yet he’s a minus-20. Audio here …