Points aren’t easy to come by in the NHL. The Kraken learned that Saturday night in a loss despite playing what may have been its most complete game.
The team the Kraken faces Tuesday night at Climate Pledge Arena, the Montreal Canadiens, also has learned that. After making a Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Final last season, the Habs have gotten off to an atrocious start.
It came together Saturday in the Canadiens’ win over the Red Wings. It’s Seattle’s job to stall that momentum in seeking its first home win.
“They’re playing well, regardless of what their early results were,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “This is a team that plays fast and have very good depth up front. They get up and down the rink very well, and their transition is dangerous. From the pieces of their games I’ve watched, they’ve found their game defensively, and their five-man units are playing pretty well.”
The Kraken curbed its transition defense woes Saturday against the Canucks, but the Canadiens are — on paper, at least — a much more offensively talented team. That they’ve scored only 10 goals has been a surprise.
If the Habs have found their game a bit, it’s bad timing for the Kraken, which has struggled against the type of style the Canadiens play.
But if the Kraken has a similar defensive game plan as it did Saturday against Vancouver, though, that could be enough to stop the Canadiens.
“It’s a good team; right now they’re coming in hungry as well to win this game,” Kraken forward Alexander Wennberg said. “It’s gonna be an intense game for sure. Right now every point in the season matters, and I think they have the same mindset.”
The Canadiens look plenty different from the team that upset Vegas to reach the Cup Final in July; they are without goalie Carey Price, defenseman Shea Weber, and forwards Phillip Danault and Corey Perry.
Even with a young offensive core led by Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, it’s different, and Montreal is still adjusting.
The Kraken might have caught them at the right time early in the season, so long as it has a game plan like it did Saturday night.
Projected Kraken lines
Based on Monday’s practice lines:
Jaden Schwartz-Yanni Gourde-Calle Jarnkrok
Joonas Donskoi-Aexander Wennberg-Jordan Eberle
Brandon Tanev-Jared McCann-Mason Appleton
Ryan Donato-Riley Sheahan-Nathan Bastian
Mark Giordano-Jamie Oleksiak
Haydn Fleury-Vince Dunn
Jeremy Lauzon-Adam Larsson
- Morgan Geekie was the extra forward at practice Monday and is likely to be the odd man out of Tuesday’s game.
- Hakstol said the lineup would have some changes from Saturday’s game, but he wouldn’t confirm what those are until game time.
- Philipp Grubauer skated off the optional skate first and will start in net.
About the Canadiens
This season: 1-5-0 (last game: 6-1 win vs Detroit)
Player to watch: Nick Suzuki
Notes: Montreal has scored just 10 goals all season, the second fewest in the league. … Six of those came Saturday night in a win at Detroit. … Montreal’s 0-5-0 start is the worst for any team coming off a Stanley Cup Final appearance the previous season.