The Seattle Kraken have been fortunate this season with health.
That’s changing now, and they’ll be forced to deal with a rare subtraction up front when they see the Los Angeles Kings again, tonight, 7:30pm (93.3 KJR / Kraken Audio Network) at Crypto.com Arena.
Morgan Geekie, colliding near the face in freakish fashion with Adam Larsson in a Sunday win at Anaheim, did not return and will miss tonight’s game, with what is being termed as an upper body ailment. Geekie’s status is day-to-day, after appearing in 15 straight games.
Karson Kuhlman will suit up after missing ten of the last 12 games, taking a position on the wing while Ryan Donato will slide over to Geekie’s spot as center. Daniel Sprong will join them at left wing.
“(Kuhlman) is such a good pro,” said Hakstol. “He works hard at his game, he’s always ready. He’s detailed in how he prepared. He’s an unbelievable teammate in how he works, in how he prepares.”
Kuhlman and the Kraken are now preparing for their fifth straight game against a Pacific Division opponent, a test that’s gone off with flying colors. The Kraken have won all four of those meetings, five games in a row overall, and are among the league’s hottest teams with a 10-1-1 record in 12 games.
It’s put them into a playoff spot, at the league’s important quarter pole, and belief of a foundation laid for success.
“Really good group in that room,” said Kuhlman. “There are a lot of guys who realize we’ve got a good chance of winning every game, every night.”
Martin Jones will start in net, to no surprise, against his former team. He has haunted the Kings since leaving in a trade after the 2014-15 season, going 21-7-3 with a .926 save percentage in 31 games.
Jones, who can tie his total of 12 wins from last season with a win tonight, has beaten the Kings in both meetings this season.
“He’s been confident and consistent all the way through,” said Hakstol. “He’s worked hard at his game and given us nice stability in all of his starts.”
Jones, though seeing four pucks get past him in a 5-4 win over Anaheim on Sunday, is still rolling with a .918 save percentage since October 25.
The Kings, coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to Ottawa on Sunday, loom just two points back of the Kraken in the Pacific Division – though they’ve had a hard time keeping up in the series, outscored 7-3, and forcing Todd McLellan to hint at adjustments.
“This is a team that’s plus-18 at five-on-five,” said McLellan. “Five on five will be a tough task, we have to be on the front end of that.”
The Kings, expected to start veteran Jonathan Quick, are led by Gabriel Velardi’s 11 goals on the season and will likely get him back in the lineup after missing Sunday’s game with a lower body ailment.
PROJECTED LINEUP, KRAKEN AT LOS ANGELES, 11/29: