In this edition of Seattle Kraken News and Rumors, Philipp Grubauer starts against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday, Joey Daccord is recalled from the AHL and Yanni Gourde continues a hot streak with five points in his last five games.
Grubauer Prepares to Take on Oilers, McDavid and Draisaitl
Grubauer makes his 18th start of the season on Friday, a matchup at home against the Oilers. It will be his first time playing against superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl as a member of the Kraken, so it should provide a good test for him as he continues improving his performance as of late.
The Kraken most recently played the Oilers in a 5-2 loss on the road on Nov. 1. Grubauer watched from the bench as he got a much-needed rest with Chris Driedger on the injured reserve early in the season. Daccord made the start, posting a .783 save percentage (SV%). On Friday, Grubauer will get his chance against Edmonton while Daccord watches from the bench with Driedger back on the injured reserve again.
Grubauer posted back-to-back .885 SV% performances against the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, following .972 SV% and .949 SV% outings against the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals, respectively. He looks to get back on track after seemingly rediscovering his game against some of the best teams in the NHL. The Oilers, who rank sixth in the league, are yet another test for last year’s Vezina Trophy finalist as he looks to be consistent in Seattle’s crease.
Daccord Recalled From AHL, Gets His Second Look With Kraken
The Kraken recalled Daccord from the AHL Charlotte Checkers on Wednesday, giving the 25-year-old goaltending prospect another look in the big league with Driedger back on the injured reserve with an undisclosed injury. In eight AHL games this season, Daccord has a strong .915 SV% and 2.35 goals-against average (GAA). If he earns some playing time during his call-up with the Kraken, he’ll gain more valuable NHL experience before heading back to Charlotte.
In two games with the Kraken this season, Daccord posted a .855 SV% and 4.06 GAA. In his first game in a Seattle uniform, a 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 19, he stopped 32 of 35 shots for a .906 SV%. His second game, as aforementioned against the Oilers, was a much tougher outing with Leon Draisaitl sniping two goals past him within the first 6:01 of the first period. If Daccord gets another chance in net during his latest opportunity with the Kraken, he can set the record straight with a strong performance and give himself an extra confidence boost before returning to the AHL.
Gourde Has Five Points in Last Five Games Heading Into Oilers Matchup
Gourde is dominating on offense for the Kraken lately, and with Jordan Eberle and Jaden Schwartz sidelined with injuries, he will likely be Seattle’s most important player against the Oilers on Friday. With a point against the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings, along with a pair against the Buffalo Sabres, Gourde is on a roll right now. With a depleted lineup, the Kraken look to its back-to-back Stanley Cup champion to continue leading the way for the team.
In 19 games this season, Gourde has tallied 15 points (five goals, 10 assists). He ranks third among all Kraken skaters in points, only trailing Eberle (17) and Schwartz (16), who have each played three more games than Gourde. In Seattle’s loss to the Oilers earlier this season, he had the primary assist on Schwartz’ first goal as a member of the Kraken. Assuming that Seattle will still have key players out on Friday, expect Gourde to continue his hot streak as he steps up in the absence of his teammates.
The Kraken face-off against the Oilers on Friday at 7:00 p.m. PT. Seattle takes the ice at Climate Pledge Arena for its first home game since a 2-1 win over the Hurricanes on Nov. 24. Sitting seven points out of a wild card spot, the Kraken need to continue finding the win column to keep its playoff hopes alive.
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Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers.