Pre-game: Hello, New Jersey - the end of the road (trip) is here

2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JUNE 28: Yanni Gourde #37 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period in Game One of the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on June 28, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

(*** Update: Yanni Gourde will make his Kraken debut tonight, activated off injured reserve. More roster moves below ****)

New Jersey: synonymous for the turnpike, Bruce Springsteen, and in the last three decades, the success of the Devils.

The Seattle Kraken get their first shot at them tonight at “The Rock” (formally known as Prudential Center), 4pm PT (3:30 air time coverage) with a grand opportunity to close the trip on a high note. A win would salvage five games in eight days, full of planes, trains, and automobiles, at 2-2-1 with perhaps a surge of momentum heading into the historic home opener, this Saturday at Climate Pledge Arena.

Because of the condensed schedule including travel across three time zones, the Kraken have had little energy or any kind of window to practice – and this morning, no skate was held before the game (typical at the end of a mentally and physically demanding trip). For cases like these, the lineup is more of a “tendency guess,” rather than a concrete confirmation, so it will all become clear by late afternoon, west coast time, with who the Kraken have available at their disposal.

We have an update. And there are a few plot twists:

  • Yanni Gourde will make his season and Kraken debut, activated a little before the 2pm PT hour. He's got back-to-back Stanley Cup titles with Tampa Bay, four straight double digit seasons in goal scoring, and his projection of an impact (read: substantial) on the Kraken roster has been well documented.
  • Chris Driedger is out of the picture, placed on injured reserve. In comes Joey Daccord, recalled from Charlotte (AHL). We'll learn of the starting netminder soon.
  • Making room for Gourde: Kole Lind has been reassigned to Charlotte.


  • Nathan Bastian, should be make his way into the lineup, will get a chance to face his former team of two seasons in the Devils, and marking the first player the Kraken get to deploy against a former team via the expansion draft. Bastian was physically active last night, which included a fight against veteran Nate Thompson in the loss at Philly.
  • Brandon Tanev, should he draw in, will play in the 300th game of his NHL career this evening. It’s a testimony to a relentless pursuit of your vocation: Tanev was never drafted, and that would make him only the 34th active player in the NHL to go undrafted, and play 300 games or more. Follow your dreams, kids.
  • The Devils have been off since last Friday, when they brought the house down in a 4-3 overtime win over the Blackhawks. Rising young gun Jack Hughes (the first overall pick of the 2019 draft) ended matters with an overtime winner, part of a two goal night. The Devils struggled mightily last season, 19-30-7 (for 7thin the Eastern Division), a far cry from their three Cups, five trips to the Finals era. They’ve missed the playoffs eight of the last nine years, since reaching the Cup Final in 2011-12. With Hughes, Nico Hischier, and free agent splash pick-up Dougie Hamilton, they hope better days are ahead.
  • Broadcast notes: Show some love for Ian Furness … he’s filled in for four games of play-by-play with our guy Everett Fitzhugh going through COVID-19 protocol … Ian’s off-day on Sunday mean more work: covering the Seahawks and Steelers for local television. He needs a nap.

Intermission guests, “Meet the Kraken”:

  • 1stintermission: Jordan Eberle
  • 2ndintermission: Carson Soucy

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content