Home ice has carried complex levels of meaning in hockey. The fans are behind you, momentum can catch a wave, and the road team can encounter trouble with communication.
Easier said than done, when capitalizing on it in this year’s playoffs. Nonetheless, the Seattle Kraken, who’ve won twice in five tries during this magical Stanley Cup Playoff run, will try to use it to their advantage and keep their season alive in a battle in broad daylight, 4pm PT (93.3 KJR / Kraken Audio Network) at Climate Pledge Arena against the Dallas Stars.
Dallas won game five, 5-2, and marked the first time since game three of the first round where the Kraken trailed in a series.
The Kraken, who traveled on Friday to prepare for the 4pm puck drop, did not hold a morning skate today, accounting for rest in what will be their 97th game of the year, accounting regular season and playoffs. Lineups will be confirmed closer to puck drop.
On ice storylines that could play a pivotal role for game six:
1. Jared McCann and his return: it’s two games in since his return from injury, but we’ve begun to see the effects of a healthier version with a goal in game five to nearly rally the Kraken out of a 3-0 hole. He played all over the place in the lineup, and where he sticks in game six could have an effect on the offensive fortunes, who will need his most fresh and healthiest output from a 40-goal campaign.
2. Five on five play: The Kraken lead the NHL in five-on-five goals, accounting for a team transformed in their second season with a deep-roster of 20-goal scorers, rather than a top-heavy approach with a marquee superstar. It’s no wonder where they’ve foujnd success, by staying out of the box. They will need their four-line tentacle approach to roll with rhythm and preserve energy for full strength play rather than spending energy trying to kill penalties.
3. Stars top line: Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz, and Joe Pavelski have been reunited and are feeling the effects. Tyler Seguin skated the first three games on the top line with Pavelski back from injury, but Pavelski and Seguin switching roles ignited the trio where a game five output included eight combined points. The Kraken will have their defensive attention prioritized on this trio, where time and space must be a premium.