3 Game Essentials | Sharks (7-11-3) at Kraken (10-5-3) | 7 p.m. – NHL.com
Time: 7:00 p.m. PT | Watch: ROOT SPORTS | Listen: 93.3 KJR
Don’t be fooled by San Jose’s sixth-place position in the Pacific Division, sitting six points behind the Kraken with Seattle holding three games in hand. The Sharks are 4-3 in their last seven games with three straight impressive road wins in that mix: a 5-2 win in Vegas, a 3-2 victory over Minnesota, and a 5-4 triumph in Dallas. Vegas leads the Pacific Division and Dallas is tops in the Central. Plus, SJS rebounded from two recent home losses (a respectable 2-1 falling to the New York Rangers and an ugly 7-4 “L” at the hands of Detroit) by shellacking Ottawa 5-1 Monday night. Timo Meier scored the game-winning goal (his ninth of the season), assisted by offensively-skilled defenseman Erik Karlsson (his 18th). Karlsson has 11 goals for 29 points in 21 games, tied for third in the NHL and the only defenseman ranked in the top 25 scorers. Captain Logan Couture, who scored Monday, has 10 scores himself.
Kraken defenseman Jamie Oleksiak has not played since Nov. 8, not coming out for the third period of the 5-1 home win. He skated with a red jersey last weekend but wore white in Tuesday’s practice, indicating he is ready for full contact. Dave Hakstol wouldn’t commit to whether Oleksiak will dress for Wednesday’s game, saying Oleksiak is still “day-to-day.” But Kraken fans peeking ahead at the Black Friday showdown at Vegas know Oleksiak’s physical style of play and overall responsible defense will be welcome to slow Vegas scorers. Oleksiak skated full drills on the first penalty-kill unit Tuesday, back with D-man Adam Larsson on special teams, perhaps he will be ready Wednesday or by Friday. Check back on the Kraken app, website, and social channels mid-day Wednesday for an update on Oleksiak and news on which goalie starts for Seattle; Philipp Grubauer looked good himself Tuesday during special teams drills.
The Kraken have earned 15 points of a possible 18 points in their last nine games. The six-game homestand (longest this season) ends Wednesday with a possibility of finishing 4-1-1 and nabbing 9 of 12 possible points. The Kraken are currently 5-4-2 at home and would like to stay north of the .500 mark. Dave Hakstol said Tuesday that the Climate Pledge Arena faithful are part of maintaining a winning formula.
“We’ve left a couple points on the table [during the homestand],” said Hakstol. “But we’ve also worked really hard to gain some good [standings] points … The atmosphere we’re playing within at home? It’s phenomenal. A real big part of building a successful season is learning to grind and find wins on the road. But being a good home team and being able to take advantage of the atmosphere we have here … I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but there’s something special we can build here in his building.”
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