Two teams coming off feel-good wins could both be without their No. 1 goalies when the Seattle Kraken visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday afternoon.
The Kraken head to the Windy City after dispatching the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche by a 3-2 final on Friday. The win, their second of the season, ended a three-game losing streak (0-2-1) for Seattle.
“It’s something to build off of,” forward Jared McCann said. “I feel like we played awesome in those California games and kind of fell short. So, to get this one, you can just build from there.”
The victory proved to be costly, however, as goaltender Philipp Grubauer left midway through the third period with an undisclosed injury. Coach Dave Hakstol didn’t have an update after the game, leaving his status unknown for Sunday.
Seattle has earned points in four of its six games thus far aided by a power play that’s connected seven times on 24 opportunities for a 29.2 percent success rate. The Kraken have scored with the man advantage in five of their six games.
“We’ve got two good units going right now,” forward Jaden Schwartz said. “Both units are executing and creating chances and moving it crisp. Our break-ins are good and it helps when you get off to a good start on the power play. Gets everyone feeling good a little bit and have that positive momentum.”
The Blackhawks head into the matchup having rallied from two-goal deficits to win each of their past two games. After scoring five unanswered against the San Jose Sharks last Saturday, Chicago turned a two-goal deficit into a 4-3 overtime victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.
“Really excited that our team is enjoying this and I think they’re believing in the process of getting better every day because I sure am,” Chicago coach Luke Richardson said. “I see it. I think they’re starting to feel it. It’s early in the season, we’ve got lots to do, a lot of places that we can get better at but it’s definitely a good start.”
After giving up five goals to the Avalanche in their season opener, the Blackhawks have held opponents to six total goals in their past three games combined.
“A lot of guys are grasping kind of the way we need to play and the systems (we have) and allowing the game to come along at the right time,” defenseman Connor Murphy said. “So, if we can be stingy at home, that would be huge.”
Goalie Petr Mrazek left the game after the second period with a groin strain and did not practice Saturday.
“Early in the season and, the solid goalie that he is, we took the precaution,” Richardson said after the game. “I just talked to the trainers and the doctor, and I think he’ll have to take tonight to see how it is. (Saturday) we’ll make the call and see how he progresses.”
The Blackhawks’ penalty kill has been a bright spot through the early season thus far, scoring three short-handed goals in the last two games.
–Field Level Media