3 essential elements of the game | Kraken at Ducks | February 11th
One: Shake off the rust, disrupt the opposing keeper
No Kraken player or Dave Hakstol has indicated they’re brushing off the rust of no practice or games for five days as an excuse for not looking so ‘sharp’ and ‘connected’ with the puck against Arizona in a 5-2 loss (two empty nets) on Wednesday. But Hakstol recognized the challenge of how downtime in skating, stickhandling and contact with the game affects a team’s performance.
Next up for the Kraken is Pacific Division rival Anaheim, who last played Jan. 31, losing to Detroit in overtime. Fans will be able to see if the Ducks exhibit their own rust.
In the post-match comments, the goalscorer Colin Blackwell was asked why 35 shots on goal only resulted in two goals. He first mentioned his teammates Marc Giordano and Vince Dun hitting posts in the first half, then framed an important upgrade for Friday’s game: “Get more traffic in front of the [Ducks] net” to create a bit of chaos for the goalkeeper and seize rebounds or second chances.
Two: recharging power play units
The Kraken have converted just one of their last 29 power plays. Wednesday night at the Climate Pledge Arena was a contrast of two human advantage situations for Seattle. The first power play featured first power play unit scoring chances featuring Mark Giordano as “quarterback.”
When the Kraken’s second power play opportunity came up, a number of players from the first unit were recovering from a shift that had just ended. The second unit on the power play, supported by Dunn, didn’t generate much sustained pressure or scoring opportunities. Hakstol said some players are adjusting to “new spots” on both units on the power play, “we need one on the power play to give us a boost.”
Three: Know the Enemy: Anaheim Ducks (23-16-9, 3rd Pacific Division)
The Ducks are just two wins behind division leader Vegas, tied on points with Los Angeles (the Kings have a game in hand) and just a point ahead of Calgary, who have played five fewer games. than Anaheim. They’ll be ready to get back to winning ways on Friday and no doubt impress new Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek, who joins after years of working with franchise builder Steve Yzerman in Tampa Bay and Detroit.
Goaltender John Gibson is a formidable presence (15-10-0) with a .922 save percentage, leading scorer Troy Terry leads Anaheim in total goals and points (25 G, 16A) while Trevor Zegras, 20, continues to impress with 12 goals, 20 assists and next-gen creativity with the puck.