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  • Preview: Wild looking to redeem themselves against hot Kraken


    Anyone up for some more late-night West Coast hockey? Grab some coffee that’s not from a popular Seattle-based chain and settle in for the Minnesota Wild facing the Seattle Kraken tonight. 

    Wild at Kraken

    When: 9:00 p.m. CT
    Where: Climate Pledge Arena
    Radio: KFAN 100.3 FM

    I don’t know about you, but the Kraken actually being decent this year was a surprise. Sure, last year they were just learning the ropes and figuring out how to be a hockey team, but they certainly seem to be taking off the training wheels fast. After some pretty decent moves in the offseason, including adding their current points leader Andre Burakovsky to the roster, and first ever drafted player Matty Beniers really coming into his own as a player, they’re sitting pretty at third in their division. They’re on a five-game win streak, have one more W under their belts, and soundly beat the Wild three games ago. 

    The Kraken have been playing some pretty high-scoring games lately and have a decent amount of offensive power, so a solid defense and some good goaltending will be key tonight. Luckily, the Wild are coming off of a definite win against the Anaheim Ducks and have a hopefully rested Marc-Andre Fleury looking for revenge in net. 

    Getting shutout is never a fun experience, and getting shutout 4-0 like the Kraken did last week is even worse, even if it was a lot of unlucky bounces. The Wild are still missing critical pieces to their lineup — Marcus Foligno, Jordan Greenway, Ryan Hartman, and Brandon Duhaime are all still likely out for tonight — which makes us a little nervous, but hopefully the puck luck goes our way tonight. 

    Projected Wild lineup

    Kirill Kaprizov — Frederick Gaudreau — Mats Zuccarello
    Adam Beckman — Joel Eriksson Ek — Matt Boldy
    Connor Dewar — Marco Rossi — Mason Shaw
    Tyson Jost — Sam Steel — Joseph Cramarossa

    Jake Middleton — Jared Spurgeon
    Jonas Brodin — Matt Dumba
    Jon Merrill — Calen Addison

    As mentioned above, we’re assuming Fleury is going to be starting tonight, after getting a rest day yesterday to recover. 

    The Wild are being cautious with Greenway’s return and letting him sit out this one, presumably so he doesn’t reinjure himself. It’s a smart move, even if his presence is missed when he’s gone. To compensate, Beckman is on the second line and we’re hoping a little bit of magic happens tonight playing with Eriksson Ek and Boldy. He looked good there against Anaheim, and if they click, it should be fun to watch them riff off each other. 

    The top line is looking solid as always and we have no notes, just a request for Kaprizov and Zuccarello to add more points tonight. 

    Projected Kraken lineup

    Oliver Bjorkstrand — Alexander Wennberg — Andre Burakovsky
    Jaden Schwartz — Matthew Beniers  — Jordan Eberle
    Jared McCann — Yanni Gourde — Brandon Tanev
    Ryan Donato — Morgan Geekie — Daniel Sprong

    Vince Dunn — Adam Larsson
    Justin Schultz — Jamie Oleksiak
    Carson Soucy — William Borgen 

    Martin Jones is unconfirmed but thought to be the goalie in net for the Kraken tonight. 

    If it’s not broken, why fix it, right? This setup has been working really well for Seattle recently and there’s little chance they’re going to change it up against the Wild. Jordan Eberle was looking for a hat trick against the Nashville Predators the last game and he almost got it, and four of Jaden Schwartz’ five goals have been on the powerplay. 

    It’s a dangerous lineup for sure, and the Wild will be working hard to shut it all down. It’d be nice if this was a fast-paced game that showed off the skills of everyone playing, but we’ll settle for something boring too as long as the Wild comes out on top. 

    Puck drops at 9:00pm CT. 

    Burning Questions

    Can the Wild get some more powerplay goals tonight? 

    By now, we all know the Wild thrives on the powerplay and, luckily for us, the Kraken’s penalty kill is near-bottom of the league. It would be nice to capitalize on that, given the chance, but drawing penalties might be difficult. Here’s to some creative plays and the refs being on the Wild’s side for the opportunity. 

    Will that second line do well? 

    If they make themselves visible, Beckman, Eriksson Ek, and Boldy could definitely be a force on the ice. It’d be nice to have a solid second to back up the top-line, so we’re hoping for them to perform well and set up some good chances. Will they come through tonight?

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