The newest team in the NHL, the Seattle Kraken, heads to Tampa for the first time in franchise history to face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning. After a dominating game against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Kraken are looking to keep up the great play that they’ve had lately. The Lightning are looking to increase their winning streak against the 28th team in the league standings
The Kraken sit on a 6-12-1 record on the season, their biggest issue being goaltending. If goaltending was better, the Kraken could be a very tough team to beat. The Lightning sit on an 11-4-3 record and after a dominating game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night, they are looking to keep up that play against the Kraken.
Starting with the Lightning, the same three players sit with the most amount of points. Steven Stamkos, Alex Killorn, and Victor Hedman all lead the Lightning in points. Because of this, we will be going over the top three best players in the last couple of games based on overall performance, which includes individual and team performance.
Anthony Cirelli: Cirelli has been an amazing two-way player for the Lightning, helping to give them such great production with his dominating defensive plays that turn into offensive opportunities, especially on the penalty kill.
Alex Barre-Boulet: With two goals in his first two games back on the main roster, Barre-Boulet has been proving to be an underrated prospect for the Lightning, and could possibly take over for Raddysh and Katchouk when Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point return from injury.
Andrei Vasilevskiy: Vasilevskiy has been great these last ten games, making a major comeback after a bad slump to start the season. With his 4-0 win shutout, he can easily come back into Vezina conversation.
The offense for the Lightning has been outstanding, with really strong plays in both the offensive and defensive zone, and some of the best playmaking seen so far this season throughout the last ten games. If the Lightning can keep this up, they could easily be a top-three team in goals.
The defense has also played very well, being nothing short of amazing with the pairs fixed after a struggle to start the season. The Hedman-Rutta pairing has been working wonders so far, and if they keep it up, could be possibly a top defensive pairing in the league.
Now for the Kraken, who have struggled a lot this season, especially on the blue line in and in net. For them, it will be based on the top three players by points.
Jaden Schwartz: 4G 12A 16P
Jordan Eberle: 9G 5A 14P
Jared McCann: 7G 4A 11P
The offense for the Kraken has been good, and while it may not look like that from their record, looking at the goals-for stat shows a different story. If the offense had a defense that could back them up, and reliable goaltending, they would be recognized a lot more than they are now.
The defense needs to be fixed. Mark Giordano is already being named as an option to be traded out of Seattle, and it seems like none of the pairings want to work with each other. If the Kraken can’t fix this, they won’t make playoffs.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (2.22 GAA, .924sv%) will most likely be starting in net for the Lightning after a dominating performance against the Flyers. With Chris Driedger (4.78 GAA, .791sv%) playing so poorly so far, Philipp Grubauer (3.18 GAA, .882sv%) should be in net for the Kraken on Friday night.
Score: 5-1 Lightning
Shots: 41 Lightning/25 Kraken
Best Performance: Boris Katchouk (1G, 2A, 3P)
Overall Performance: A+
The Lightning have dominated the league in the last few weeks, and the Kraken…well, they’ve at least tried. The Lightning have the best chance of winning unless Grubauer decides to be a Vezina caliber goalie against them instead of a fringe starter.