A pair of Western Conference teams take the ice in the Music City in search of a victory. The Seattle Kraken are on the road as they make the trip to face the Nashville Predators Thursday night. Seattle lost the first game in franchise history as they were upended 4-3 on the road by Vegas Tuesday night. Nashville finished last season 31-23-2, good for fourth in the Central Division standings. The Predators were knocked off in six games in the opening round of the playoffs by the Hurricanes. With Seattle being an expansion team, this marks the first time that the two teams have met in their respective histories.
Seattle Kraken Seeking First Win in Franchise HistorySeattle battled hard against Vegas on the road in the opening game in franchise history but ended up digging too deep a hole to come out of in order to prevail. The Kraken now goes on the road again in search of the first victory in franchise history. Seattle had several key players in the health and safety protocols leading into the game and while the majority of them suited up, it still wasn’t at full strength. Calle Jarnkrok and Yanni Gourde both missed the game, as did Colin Blackwell. The Kraken look to put together a better showing in their own end of the ice in this contest as they try to emerge victoriously.
when you see our first-ever goal in slow motion 😍 pic.twitter.com/q9DQouCnbM— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) October 13, 2021
In the opening period against Vegas, the inaugural period of hockey in franchise history, Seattle held a 9-6 edge in shots on goal but found themselves down 2-0 on the scoreboard after 20 minutes of play. The second period saw the Kraken outshot by a 17-14 margin but they outscored the Golden Knights 2-1 to make it a 3-2 Vegas lead after 40 minutes. After falling behind 3-0, Ryan Donato scored the first goal in franchise history with his first of the year at 11:32 of the period off assists from Vince Dunn and Joonas Donskoi. Just 1:12 later, at 12:44 of the period, Jared McCann made it a 3-2 game with his first of the season off assists from Jordan Eberle and Jaden Schwartz. In the third period, the Kraken held an 8-7 edge in shots with both teams scoring once, leaving them short a goal on the scoreboard. Morgan Geekie tied the game at three with his first of the season at 7:58 off an assist from Jeremy Lauzon. That was short-lived as the Golden Knights scored the eventual game winner just 35 seconds later. Philipp Grubauer made 26 saves for the Kraken, who held a 31-30 edge in shots on goal, in the defeat. He’s expected to get the start in goal again in this contest.
Nashville Predators Looking to Start Season StrongNashville finished last season with a solid enough record, going 31-23-2, but ended up only fourth in the Central Division standings. The Predators didn’t have much success in the postseason as they were dropped in six games in the opening round by Carolina. This season, the team hopes to improve and start the season off on a positive note here. Nashville was 23rd in the league in goals for as they averaged 2.65 goals per game last season. The Predators were tied for 10th in the league in goals-against as they allowed an average of 2.70 goals a night. Nashville was 23rd in power-play success as they successfully converted on 17.6% of their chances with the man advantage on the year. The Predators were a dismal 29th in the league in penalty killing as they managed to get through a paltry 75.4% of their shorthanded situations.
🕺 FROSTY 🕺 GOAL pic.twitter.com/wYPrgdKd1d— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) October 9, 2021
Things were relatively calm in the Music City in the offseason. The Predators kept Mikael Granlund with a four-year deal while also retaining Dante Fabbro, Juuse Saros, Tanner Jeannot, Mathieu Olivier, Eeli Tolvanen, Anthony Richard and Michael McCarron. Meanwhile, Erik Haula (Boston), Erik Gudbranson (Calgary), Brad Richardson (Calgary), Tyler Lewington (Boston) and Sean Malone (Buffalo) departed via free agency while Pekka Rinne retired. To replace him, Nashville picked up David Rittich to pair with Saros in goal. Defenseman Roman Josi (eight goals, 25 assists) was the team’s leading scorer last season. He’ll hope to get help from Matt Duchene (six goals, seven assists), Filip Forsberg (12 goals, 20 assists) and Granlund (13 goals, 14 assists) in order to take some pressure off the goaltending. Saros was 21-11-1 with a 2.28 GAA, a .927 save % and three shutouts in 36 games last season. He’ll get the call in goal in this contest.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Seattle showed some grit by rallying from three goals down to tie Vegas in the third period Tuesday in their first game in franchise history. However, giving up the go-ahead goal 35 seconds later proved to be too much for the Kraken to overcome. Nashville hasn’t played yet and they have to be better offensively than we saw most of last season. Keeping Granlund and Ekholm in the fold was a big win for the Predators. It should help bolster their offensive production this season. With Seattle still getting their feet under them and being on the road again, you have to give the edge to Nashville as Saros gets the victory.
Full-Game Total Pick
We saw Seattle with a total of seven goals in their game against Vegas in the first game in franchise history. The Kraken ended up going over the total in that contest but it might be more of a challenge in this one. Nashville finished last season 18-10-0 on home ice last season with a +13 goal differential. The average total for the Predators on home ice last season was 5.32 goals per game. That was lower than their full season mark of 5.46 goals per contest overall. Until we see Nashville actually generate some offensive production, you have to think that this one will be more defensive minded. As a result, look for the under to come in for this contest.