Game Notes: Edmonton Oilers @ Seattle Kraken
By Cam Lewis8 months ago
1. Saturday afternoon’s meeting between the Edmonton Oilers and Seattle Kraken will be the fourth and final between the two teams during the 2022-23 regular season.
The Oilers and Kraken met three times within the span of a couple of weeks back around New Year’s. The Oilers pulled off a 7-2 win in Seattle on December 30, the Kraken came back with a 5-2 win in Edmonton on January 3, and Edmonton picked up a 5-2 victory of their own on January 17.
2. The last time the Oilers saw the Kraken, they had just set an NHL record as the first team ever to win all games during a seven-game road trip. The seventh win on that trip was an 8-5 victory over the Blackhawks in Chicago that put Seattle at 26-12-4 for the season.
The Kraken have cooled off a little bit since then, going 12-11-3 over their last two months of play. They now own a 38-23-7 record, one point behind the Oilers for third place in the Pacific Division standings with one game in hand.
3. This game against Seattle is one of the five remaining four-point games that the Oilers have this season with Pacific Division teams vying for home-ice advantage in the playoffs. Beating the Kraken on Saturday will be important for staying ahead of them in the standings and the Oilers also face the Vegas Golden Knights and Los Angeles Kings twice more each.
Vegas is six points ahead of the Oilers, the Kings are five points ahead of Edmonton, and all three teams have played the same amount of games.
4. The Oilers will likely go with Stuart Skinner as their starting goaltender in this important game against Seattle. Jack Campbell last started a couple of weeks ago in Winnipeg against the Jets and he allowed six goals on 38 shots in the loss. Skinner has started all five of Edmonton’s games since and has gone 4-1-0 with a .914 save percentage.
While Skinner gives the Oilers their best chance to win each game, he can’t play every single game the rest of the way. There are three games left on Edmonton’s schedule that look like ideal opportunities to get Campbell into the net. Their next game comes against the San Jose Sharks, so that’ll surely be a Campbell start, and they have two sets of back-to-backs, so Campbell will likely start against the games against Arizona Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks while Skinner gets the Golden Knights and Kings.
5. Seattle’s Matty Beniers, the No. 2 overall pick from the 2021 draft, will likely win the Calder Trophy for the NHL’s best rookie, but Skinner deserves to be right in the mix for the award given how important he’s been to Edmonton’s success. Skinner has a .912 save percentage through 41 games and his solid presence in the net helped compensate for some defensive deficiencies that the team had earlier in the season.
6. Speaking of goaltending, the Kraken are one of two teams in the NHL who are currently in a playoff spot but rank in the bottom third in the league in terms of save percentage. They’re 28th in the league with an .887 combined save percentage, one spot up on the Kings, who have an .886 save percentage. The Oilers are just outside of bottom third group, as their .896 save percentage ranks 19th in the league.
Martin Jones was Seattle’s starting goaltender for much of the early part of the season but it looks like Philipp Grubauer has taken over the net. Grubauer has started seven games for the Kraken in March and he’s posted a 5-1-1 record with a .902 save percentage. Jones, meanwhile, has just one win and an .852 save percentage in his last eight outings.
7. Connor McDavid has already set a new high for most points scored in a single season during the salary cap era, which was previously the 128 points that Nikita Kucherov scored during the 2018-19 season. McDavid has 57 goals on the season, putting him just nine goals shy of passing Alex Ovechkin’s 65 goals from the 2007-08 season as the most in a single season in the cap world.
McDavid has played the Kraken six times in his career and he has five goals and 12 points against them.
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