Kraken Playoffs Update: How they can clinch first postseason
Apr 5, 2023, 2:07 PM | Updated: Apr 6, 2023, 11:17 am
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
The playoff push for the Seattle Kraken is nearly complete. In fact, the franchise could clinch its first Stanley Cup Playoffs berth in just its second season of existence before the weekend.
It’s been a big week for the Kraken already, who blew out the lowly Arizona Coyotes 8-1 on Monday and followed up the next night by rallying for a 5-2 win over the rival Canucks in Vancouver. And it may only get bigger on Thursday.
Following those first two wins of the week, the Kraken are 43-26-8 for 94 points in the standings with five games to go. That puts Seattle five points ahead of both the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames for the first of two wild cards in the Western Conference.
So what do the Kraken need to do to clinch a spot in the postseason? Let’s break it down.
Simply put, the highest amount of points in the standings that Calgary can finish the year with is 95, while Winnipeg can still get to 97. The Flames (37-27-15, 89 points) have three games left to play, and with each win counting for two points, there is a maximum of eight points left available to them. The Jets (43-32-3, 89 points) have the edge on Calgary for the second and final wild card as they have four games to go.
So it’s as easy as a Kraken win over their final five games (the first of which is another meeting with the Coyotes at Climate Pledge Arena on Thursday night) or a non-overtime Flames loss in their final three contests? It is to eliminate Calgary from contention, but that’s not the full story.
The Flames or Jets aren’t the only teams Seattle needs to worry about, because the Nashville Predators (39-30-8, 86 points) have five games to go and can finish with 96 points if they win out. The Kraken own the tiebreaker over Nashville, though, so a single Kraken win or Predators loss would wrap it up for Seattle.
How soon can the Kraken clinch?
How about Thursday night? That do anything for you?
Even though Calgary beat Winnipeg 3-1 on Wednesday, a Kraken win Thursday would still confirm that Seattle will end the season ahead of the Flames. Meanwhile, the Predators will face Carolina, who lead the Metropolitan Division and have the second-best record in all of the NHL, at 5 p.m. Thursday, while the Kraken and Coyotes hit the ice at 7:30 p.m.
If Nashville loses and Seattle takes care of business against Arizona, that would wrap it up. In fact, if the Kraken lose in overtime and get a point and the Predators lose, that would also clinch for Seattle, though it certainly wouldn’t make for the most satisfying playoff clinching.
How likely is it that the Kraken make the playoffs?
Very likely, but still not a guarantee.
The good news is Seattle has a immediately favorable schedule ahead with two more games against Arizona still to go, which are the aforementioned Thursday contest and a road game in Phoenix on Monday. And in between those two games, the Kraken will host Chicago at 7 p.m. Saturday, and the Blackhawks have an even worse record than the Coyotes at 25-46-6 for 56 points.
If Seattle doesn’t clinch by then, though, things might get a bit uncomfortable because it finishes the season with back-to-back games against the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights (48-22-8, 104 points). Besides, if the Kraken want to clinch in front of the home fans on the Climate Pledge Arena ice – and who wouldn’t want that? – their best chances are Thursday and Saturday.
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