Kraken penalty-kill unit will be tested by Oilers

NHL

The expansion Seattle Kraken have a top-five penalty kill and sit near the top of the NHL in fewest shorthanded times per game.

As they hit the road to face the Edmonton Oilers on Monday, the Kraken had best keep those trends running.

The Oilers are coming off a 2-1 road victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday in which they scored twice with the man advantage. Edmonton’s power play has been downright lethal so far this season, with a 47.8 percent success rate (11-for-23). The Oilers have scored a power-play goal in seven games to start the season for the first time since the 1986-87 campaign.

“This power play, every time they’re out there wants to score and thinks that they can score,” Oilers forward Zach Hyman said. “We don’t really think about the numbers or the percentages, it’s just, ‘let’s go get a goal.’ “

It should surprise nobody that Oilers captain Connor McDavid has four power-play goals (along with nine power-play points), but Edmonton has five forwards who have lit the lamp on the man-advantage.

“There’s a lot of special talent on that first unit there and we get to watch it on the bench just like you guys,” said forward Warren Foegele, who is part of the second power-play unit and scored the opening goal against Vancouver. “They’re moving the puck well, they’re creating a lot of chances and just stay hot.”

Speaking of staying hot, Edmonton backup goaltender Mikko Koskinen has remained solid since No. 1 netminder Mike Smith was injured Oct. 19. Koskinen has posted a 4-1 record with a 2.26 goals-against average and .934 save percentage.

The Kraken arrive in Edmonton after their modest two-game winning streak was snapped Sunday night with a 3-1 home loss to the New York Rangers — a game in which Seattle outshot the Rangers by a 32-18 margin. The Kraken likely deserved a better fate, especially after dominating the second period by a 13-2 shot margin but only scoring once. The Rangers, who have won five straight road games, netted the winning goal in the third period before an empty-net tally made it a two-goal difference.

“Those ones are always tough when you feel like you’ve carried to play and you find a way to lose,” forward Jordan Eberle said. “So, I guess the positive would be that if you play that way most nights, bounces go in and you find a way to win.”

In fact, the Kraken came within a whisker of tying the game — a deflected shot rang off the post — before the empty netter sealed their fate.

“We’re not settled with the outcome, but there are not many parts of this game that I don’t like,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “Our effort was excellent, our togetherness was great. We stayed with it. We couldn’t make the play to get the game-winning goal.”

Prior to the game, Kraken leading point-producer Jared McCann, along with assistant coach Paul McFarland, were placed in COVID-19 protocol.

“It’s become a part of our world,” Hakstol said. “We test and players are tested often. We’re not the only ones that have had to adjust on the fly. So, we’ve had lots of time to do that.”

McCann has been placed in the protocol twice, after being one of five Seattle players to test positive before the regular-season opener.

–Field Level Media

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