EDMONTON, Alberta — The Kraken has played a back-to-back with a game in Edmonton before. That time, in the preseason, it was handed a bad loss to the Oilers before a win in Calgary the next night.
This time, the Kraken faces the Oilers in the second game of the back-to-back following a loss to the Rangers in Seattle on Sunday night. The Kraken didn’t play a bad game but was shut down by Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin.
At some point, though, moral victories aren’t victories. The Kraken also played well against the Canucks in the home opener and lost. At some point, the finish — and the wins — has to come.
The back-to-back is always a tough stage to start a new run, though.
“Playing after playing last night, we won’t be able to dictate the matchups,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “One of the most important things for night is gonna be making sure we’ve got good energy and are as fresh as possible when out on the ice.”
The Kraken will be without Jared McCann, who entered COVID-19 protocol ahead of Sunday night’s game for the second time this season. Max McCormick made his Kraken debut instead, skating on the fourth line.
Hakstol wouldn’t commit to what lineup changes could be coming in Edmonton aside from Joey Daccord getting the start in net. Whatever changes may happen though, the mission is the same — try to stay as sharp as possible against one of the best offensive clubs in the league.
“We’ve all played enough (back-to-backs),” said Kraken forward Jordan Eberle, who is playing in his sixth game against his first NHL team, the Oilers. “Whether it’s junior or NHL, we’ve played enough of them that honestly it’s all mental. Sometimes you feel a lot better on the back-to-back, you get more energized and ready to go.”
Seattle faces the task of playing against Connor McDavid, who leads the NHL with 16 points in seven games, and Leon Draisaitl, who centers the Oilers’ second line and has 13 points.
Looking to pull out one win in the back-to-back though, the Kraken has a lot to worry about on its own end. McDavid just makes it all the more difficult.
“He’s an absolute dynamic player,” said Hakstol. “One of the things that stands out for me is just his competitive nature and it seems every year I’ve been able to see him, there’s a new piece of his game, something else he tries to improve on.”
Projected Kraken lines
Based on Sunday’s game against the Rangers:
Jaden Schwartz – Alexander Wennberg – Joonas Donskoi
Brandon Tanev – Yanni Gourde – Calle Jarnkrok
Ryan Donato – Morgan Geekie – Jordan Eberle
Max McCormick – Riley Sheahan – Nathan Bastian
Vince Dunn – Mark Giordano
Jamie Oleksiak – Haydn Fleury
Adam Larsson – Jeremy Lauzon
- Joey Daccord will start in net after Philipp Grubauer played Sunday night against the Rangers.
- Max McCormick made his Kraken debut on Sunday night in place of Jared McCann, who is on the Kraken COVID list.
About the Oilers
This season: 6-1-0 (last game: 2-1 win vs Vancouver)
Player to watch: Connor McDavid
Notes: The Oilers 29 goals are the fifth most in the NHL. … Seattle faced the Oilers twice in the preseason, going 1-1-0. … Edmonton’s 47.8% on the power play is far and away the best in the NHL. … The Oilers 34.1 shots per game are the sixth most in the league
Hyman – McDavid – Puljujarvi
Nugent-Hopkins – Draisaitl – Yamamoto
Foegele – Ryan – Kassian
Benson – Shore – Turris
Nurse – Bouchard
Keith – Ceci
Koekkoek – Barrie