The Seattle Kraken (2-5-2) head to Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning (4-2-2) tomorrow night. The Kraken look to wrap up their most recent road trip with a win and head home with 2 more points in the standings. The Lightning, who are currently in 5th place in the Atlantic Division, always seem to be really good. This is a team that was in the middle of their championship dynasty only a few years ago. Salary cap, free agency, and an aging roster have lowered this team’s ceiling but make no mistake, Tampa is one of the best teams in the NHL.
With their franchise goalie on injured reserve, the Kraken will look to strangle the Lightning into submission and suffocate them with an intense forecheck. This forecheck had been on full display this road trip and the Kraken have been playing very good hockey the past few games. The Kraken have never beat the Lightning (0-4-0 all-time) but that is about to change. Let’s take a look at the 3 Keys to Victory for Seattle Kraken at Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Kraken need to fix their zone entry.
The Seattle Kraken have struggled at times entering the zone this season. Teams do not score when they can’t get into the attack zone. This may seem like a no brainer or ‘thanks Captain Obvious’ but if you have watched the Kraken tape, and pinpoint an area of struggle, this is one.
The Kraken need to get the puck deep and pressure the heck out of the Lightning defense. Seattle struggles when they headman the puck into the zone but thrive when they dump the puck low, use their speed to chase, and pressure the defense deep in the zone. This strategy relieves the defensive pressure and back check on the blue line and forces the Lightning to adjust.
If the Kraken can enter the zone more efficiently, and play to their strengths, this game should favor Seattle as they are one of the deepest forward groups in the league and have the edge in the lineup matches in this game.
Seattle needs Tye Kartye and Oliver Bjorkstrand to stay hot
Kartye and Bjorkstrand have been the most exciting and most consistent Kraken forwards this season. As expected, Bjorkstrand is having a much better statistical season than last year, and he has been a difference maker this road trip.
Remember, Bjorkstrand was once the best player on the Columbus Blue Jackets and was an afterthought after the team signed Johnny Gaudreau. The Kraken got a steal when they brought him on board and this season we are seeing why. Expect him to lead the way.
Tye Kartye has been electric. Easily the most exciting player on the team through the first 9 games. Tomorrow night, if the Kraken are going to win they will need both of these guys to bring their ‘A’ game. If both players score in this game, I predict that Seattle will win this one.
Seattle goalies need to be scary good
With Halloween right around the corner, let’s see the Seattle goalies scare the pants off of the Lightning forwards with an elite performance. Joey Daccord is the hot hand for the Kraken, though I would not be surprised to see Philip Grubauer in net. Daccord has played really well and his last game was the best one of his young career. I can see the team letting him sit in an effort to change things up a bit. They aren’t winning, and something needs to change.
Grubauer is the top goalie on this team. He has had a pretty solid season (0-4-0, with a 3.04 goals against average, and a .896 save percentage), in spite of the fact that he has not won a game yet this year. That is not his fault, the team has left him out to dry. In fact, the team scored 3 goals in his 4 appearances.
The Kraken have wasted some really strong outings from Grubauer. Tomorrow night, if he has a strong outing, the Kraken will win this game (if they also score).
Brandon Tanev- IR (OUT) Lower Body injury
André Burakovsky- OUT Upper Body Injury
Through the first 9 games the Kraken have played below expectations (2 regulation wins). I agree with some national tv analysts when they say that the Kraken should regress slightly after last season. So many players peaked last year and what we saw was the biggest turnaround from an inaugural season to the next, in NHL history. The team has been much better on this road trip and lets hope this continues tomorrow night. 10 games is a pretty solid sample of who this team is, but it is still super early in the season.
The puck drops at 4:00PM PDT from Amalie Arena on ROOT-NW.
Let’s go boys! Beat Tampa!
Fear the deep!