((This article related to the Kraken and Canucks first appeared on SeattleHockeyInsider.com))
The Seattle Kraken earned a full day off Friday with their 4-2 Thursday night victory over the visiting Nashville Predators.
The Seattle lads are now 5-2-and-1 all time against the men of ‘Smashville’. The Kraken forecheck improved as the night went on, reaching peak intensity in the 3rd period, they held their late two-goal lead, and Philipp Grubauer turned in another strong performance to pick up his second consecutive win.
Starting from the goal line out, always a good idea when building and analyzing a club, the Kraken are getting strong goaltending from both “Grooby” and back-up Joey Daccord. Keep that up and you’re taking care of a hockey team’s biggest check mark.
The D-men are healthy and the pairs appear established and showing strong chemistry, led by the top pair of Adam Larsson and Vince Dunn. They’ve essentially picked up where they left off last season. Below them it’s Jamie Oleksiak and Will Borgen followed by Brian Dumoulin and Justin Schultz.
Dumoulin scored a goal for the 2nd consecutive game while Schultz chipped in two assists against the Preds.
Finally, the forwards are starting to click following head coach Dave Hakstol’s latest line juggles heading into and during the victory in Tampa Bay on Monday. The timing of that reference might be a smidge off, but you get the idea. The offense is coming around.
We’ll save the Pacific Division special teams discussion for later.
Canucks Embarrass Sharks
The Canucks are off to a hot start, 7-2-and-1, a joyous reality for their long suffering fans who have put up with awful starts the last two seasons in particular.
Thursday night they absolutely destroyed the Sharks in San Jose, 10-1.
The Canucks skaters had a field day on the scoresheet. Star defenseman Quinn Hughes had a five point night. Forwards J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser all had three point evenings. It’s very much starting to look like Boeser will finally reach the 30-goal mark for a season, a topic of discussion since his rookie campaign of 29 goals back in 2017-’18. He has eight through his first ten games.
The odd part is the Sharks scored last. Down ten-nothing, Fabian Zetterlund tallied a power play goal at the 16:12 mark of the 3rd period, ruining Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko’s shut-out.
Well, they’re not tanking obviously, they’re just awful. The Shark Tank is the nickname of their home arena.
They won’t need to tank later in the season either to have the best odds at the top overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. In fact, the Sharks have two first-rounders and two second-rounders coming up next summer.
That’s the good news.
The bad news: They’re out of the playoffs with 72 games to play. They have one point in the standings after ten games. They’re on pace to have the worst record in NHL history.
In modern times, the worst team in league history based on win percentage was the 1974-’75 Washington Capitals who finished 8-67-and-5. The most total losses in a season belongs to the Sharks in their second year, 1992-’93, when they went 11-71-and-2. The inaugural Ottawa Senators were right behind them that same season at 10-70-and-4.