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Game Preview: Seattle Kraken @ Pittsburgh Penguins 1/15/2024 - Lines, how to watch

It’s a hockey...afternoon in Pittsburgh

Seattle Kraken v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

Who: Seattle Kraken (19-14-9, 47 points, 5th place Pacific Division) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (20-15-6, 46 points, 6th place Metropolitan Division)

When: 1:00 p.m. ET (time change for this game!)

How to Watch: Sportsnet Pittsburgh, Root Sports NW, streaming on ESPN+

Pens’ Path Ahead: The second half of the season begins today and it will be a gentle easing into it. They are off until Friday when they play in Vegas and then don’t play again after until a week from today in Arizona. Then they will come back east and have a few more day off until Friday January 26th prior to the following game against Florida.

Opponent Track: Aside from their division rivals in Edmonton (on a 10-game winning streak), Seattle is the NHL’s hottest team, on a nine-game winning streak. That includes the first ever shutout in a Winter Classic (a 3-0 home victory over Vegas) and winning their first three games on this Eastern road trip (over Buffalo, Washington and Columbus in the last week). There’s also back-to-back considerations for the Kraken for today, they go to NYC to play the Rangers tomorrow.

Season Series: The Penguins play in Seattle on leap day, February 29th.

Hidden Stat: The Kraken are 9th in the NHL with 41 first period goals. But they decrease as the game goes on, ranking 21st in the second period (41 goals) and down to just 27th (36 goals) in the third period. (The Pens are 24th-18th-17th per period)

Getting to know the Kraken

Projected lines

FORWARDS

Jordan Schwartz - Alex Wennberg - Brandon Tanev

Tomas Tatar - Matthew Beniers - Jordan Eberle

Eeli Tolvanen - Yanni Gourde - Oliver Bjorkstrand

Tye Kartye - Jared McCann - Andre Burakovsky

DEFENSEMEN

Vince Dunn / Adam Larsson

Jamie Oleksiak / Will Borgen

Brian Dumoulin / Justin Schultz

Goalies: Joey Daccord and Chris Driedger

Possible scratches: Ryker Evans, Devin Shore, Kailer Yamamoto

IR: Phillipp Grubauer, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

—Interesting line splits with at least two good offensive players sprinkled around each line. Old friend Jared McCann scored two goals, added an assist and played over 16 minutes in the last game against Columbus, which is reminiscent of the game a few weeks ago where Carolina had Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen on the “fourth line”. (Both teams having the Ron Francis influence and likely some overlap strategies).

—And much like Vancouver, there’s a bevy of former Penguins on this team too. The Dumoulin/Schultz pair is fun and was seldom seen in Pittsburgh weirdly enough considering how close the two are off the ice. Dumoulin is only playing just over 16 minutes per game and looks insulated in a good role at this point of his career, nice to see him find a soft landing place and solid second team to continue his career with.

Player stats

(via hockeydb)

—One of the undercover feel good stories of this NHL season has been the emergence of Joey Daccord as an unlikely and unxexpected star goalie. Prior to this season, the undrafted 27-year old had only played 19 games at the NHL level, with a 3-9-2 record, 3.64 GAA and .884 save%. Out of those humble and unexpected beginnings, Daccord somehow ranks fourth in the NHL in save% right now. It couldn’t have come at a better time for the Kraken, who don’t have to watch Grubauer struggle mightily for them for a third straight season (only 3.5 more seasons of that monstrosity of a contract to go!).

How long can the Daccord Cinderella story go? Who knows, but it’s going great for now. Daccord hasn’t suffered a regulation loss since December 10th, 12 games ago! (And even that was a 3-0 loss that got him no goal support and he only gave up two goals). Since then Daccord is 10-0-2 with a .957 save%. Good luck, Penguins. (Maybe they’ll get lucky and Seattle will save Daccord for their game tomorrow vs NYR).

And now for the Penguins

Projected lines

FORWARDS

Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Rickard Rakell

Drew O’Connor - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust

Radim Zohorna - Lars Eller - Valtteri Puustinen

Jansen Harkins - Noel Acciari - Jeff Carter

DEFENSEMEN

Marcus Pettersson / Kris Letang

Ryan Graves / Erik Karlsson

P.O. Joseph / Chad Ruhwedel

Goalies: Tristan Jarry and Alex Nedeljkovic

Potential scratches: Colin White

IR: Matt Nieto (out from knee surgery until March), John Ludvig (upper body injury)

—The two big developments at Pens’ practice on Sunday was that Acciari was back at practice after missing the game Saturday night and Ryan Graves was promoted to play back with Erik Karlsson. The latter could be more because P.O. Joseph has been having issues of his own in a bigger role, but the team was always going to need Graves to get back into the top-four and pull his weight there.

Sullivan talks about Dumo

No matter what you think about Mike Sullivan’s every little decision with the roster, his perspective and the way he talks about his players and former players is often inspiring with how warm, thoughtful and collected his thoughts are in situations like talking about Brian Dumoulin.

Two of the top teams in the last month

The good news: the Penguins are on of the top teams in the NHL in the last month.

The bad news: the Kraken have been even better in the last month.

From the Penguins’ PR team:

Pittsburgh has been playing consistent hockey over the last month, picking up points in 12 of its last 15 games (9-3-3). Since this stretch began on Dec. 12, only six teams have accumulated more points than the Penguins:

Most Points Since Dec. 12

Team GP Record PTS

Winnipeg 16 12-2-2 26
Seattle 13 11-0-2 24
Vancouver 15 11-2-2 24
Carolina 15 10-1-4 24
Colorado 15 11-3-1 23
Edmonton 14 11-3-0 22
Pittsburgh 14 9-3-2 20

Jake going for 20

Jake Guentzel has 19 goals, one more and he joins this illustrious list in Penguin history. From the team again:

Jake Guentzel enters tomorrow’s game one goal shy of hitting the 20-goal plateau for the seventh-consecutive season. When he reaches this mark, he will become just the seventh player in franchise history to have seven or more 20-goal campaigns with Pittsburgh

Rank Player 20-Goal Seasons

1 Sidney Crosby 16
2 Evgeni Malkin 14
3 Mario Lemieux 12
4 Jaromir Jagr 11
T-5 Rick Kehoe 9
T-5 Jean Pronovost 9
T-7 Jake Guentzel 6
T-7 Ron Francis 6

Playing against the Kraken has been a good thing for Guentzel too, with the winger having scored four career goals in as many games against the NHL’s newest franchise.