A guide to scoreboard watching for Seattle Kraken fans down the stretch

Feb 9, 2023, 12:35 PM
Eeli Tolvanen of the Seattle Kraken reacts after his goal against the Vancouver Canucks on January 25, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

While the Kraken were sleepwalking through a 4-0 loss against the New York Islanders Tuesday, the Vegas Golden Knights were on their way to beating the Nashville Predators 5-1. Thanks to those outcomes the Golden Knights jumped ahead of the Kraken into first place of the Pacific Division standings by one point.

The Western Conference playoff picture is jammed up good. Seattle is well positioned now, second in the division, but are only ahead of the first team out of a playoff spot, the Calgary Flames, by five points.. We are in the second half stretch run and it’s going to have the ups and downs of a theme park roller coaster.

Seattle’s best path forward is to win and continue to rack up points, starting Thursday night in New Jersey when they play the Devils.

There was good and bad news Thursday morning after the team announced that forward Andre Burakovsky was placed on injured reserve. That was the bad news, the good news was the defenseman Justin Schultz was activated off the injured reserve. Seattle also called up forward John Hayden from the Coachella Valley Firebirds of the American Hockey League.

So for the immediate future, the Kraken will try to earn points with a bit of a juggled lineup and without their leading scorer.

While they navigate that, what can fans do?

It’s time to scoreboard-watch and start rooting against the biggest challenges for a playoff spot at the Kraken’s expense. Here is a guide for scoreboard watching down the stretch.

Pacific Division

To properly scoreboard watch, you must start in the division. The top three finishers in the Pacific will qualify for a postseason berth and heading into Thursday’s action, the Kraken are in second, and in a playoff spot.

Vegas Golden Knights –64 points

Early on it looked like Vegas was going to run away with the division but they’ve come back to earth which allowed Seattle and the Los Angeles Kings to reel them in. They are 3-5-2 over the last ten so are far from playing their best hockey at the moment. As they did last season, injuries are starting to work against the Golden Knights. They lost goalie Robin Lehner for the season early on and currently are without captain Mark Stone, who is expected back in March.

Seattle has two more opportunities to steal some points away from Vegas. The Kraken wrap up the year with a game at Vegas on April 11 and then their last game of the season, on April 13 they host the Golden Knights in two games that hopefully have huge playoff stakes and atmosphere.

Los Angeles Kings – 63 points

The Kings are tied with the Kraken in points but Seattle has three games in hand and technically ahead in the standings with a higher points percentage.

Helping the Kraken cause is that they are 3-0-0 against Los Angeles already this season. The Kings have struggled defensively which is surprising after a season that saw them among the stingiest in the NHL. This year, they are the only Western Conference team currently in a playoff position with a negative goal differential at minus-10. That could be a problem moving forward if they want to get back to the playoffs.

They are fairly healthy and the Kraken get one more shot at them on April 1, when they come to Climate Pledge Arena.

Edmonton Oilers – 62 points

Don’t look now, but the Oilers are on the come. They’ve won eight of their last ten and are breathing down the necks of the top three in the division. Connor McDavid is as advertised and leading the NHL in scoring with 41 goals and 93 points. The league’s second-leading scorer is his teammate Leon Draisaitl with 29 goals and 76 points. If that wasn’t good enough, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is 10th in NHL scoring with 62 points. Edmonton has a plus-28 goal differential.

The Oilers lead the head-to-head series 2-1 against Seattle but the two do have one more big game to go, on March 13 in Seattle. That becomes a huge game or playoff positioning.

Calgary Flames – 58 points

The Flames are currently out of playoff position but not by much and need to start putting wins together if they want to move up. The Kraken don’t have any more games with the Flames which might be a good thing. Calgary is 2-1-0 against Seattle and has won the last two head-to-head games. For whatever reason, the Flames seem to have the Kraken’s number.

With no more games against Calgary, it’s time to root against them on a nightly basis.

Western Conference

The Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets are the top two teams in the Western Conference and in the Central Division. Dallas has 70 points and the Jets have 65 which puts them ahead of the Kraken in the conference. While ahead of Seattle, the Kraken won’t complain if they lose games on the off chance that they’ll end up in a Wild Card fight between either team.

There are more immediate threats in that case, however.

Colorado Avalanche – 58 points

The Avalanche have started slowly, which they did last year before taking off and winning the Stanley Cup. They are getting hot however and have moved into third place in the Central Division which is a playoff spot. Colorado has won seven out of the last ten despite dealing with some injuries. All everything defenseman Cale Makar has been banged up and is expected to miss a couple more games. Star forward Gabriel Landeskog has missed most of the season and is still on the injured reserve.

There should be no sleeping on Colorado and the Avalanche could get back to their championship form soon.

Minnesota Wild – 58 points

Currently holding down the last playoff spot in the West, the Wild have had an up-and-down season. They have lost their last two games which helps. Minnesota has good goaltending but may not sore enough. Seattle hopes it stays out of the Wild Card conversation which will allow them not to worry about the Wild and have split the season series 1-1. Both games were shutouts – The Kraken won 4-0 and the Wild picked up a 1-0 shutout at Climate Pledge Arena. There is one more game to go this year when Seattle goes to Minnesota on March 27.

Some of these teams will fall out of contention and teams like Nashville (54 point) could jump up and join the party. For now, Seattle needs to keep gaining points and hope these other teams help out by not winning.

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A guide to scoreboard watching for Seattle Kraken fans down the stretch