NHL Game of the Week: Seattle Kraken vs New Jersey Devils

Story posted February 8, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Ethan Ellis

Two teams coming off two very different games look to prove their dominance over the NHL Thursday night. The New Jersey Devils and the Seattle Kraken are two of the most talented teams in the NHL at the moment and this clash of the East and West conferences could also preview a potential Stanley Cup matchup.

The Devils are coming off a close win at home against Vancouver Monday night. In a game that once saw the Devils with a three goal lead, the Canucks forced an overtime period. Jesper Bratt sealed the game for the Devils with an overtime goal, giving the Devils 33 wins on the season, third best in the NHL.

The Seattle Kraken, on the other hand, are coming off a rough game Tuesday night that saw them get shut out by the New York Islanders. However, this Kraken squad does have some momentum coming into this game as they won the last matchup against the Devils in a 4-3 overtime win.

The Devils are facing an uphill battle on Thursday night for several reasons. The most notable of these being the absence of All-Star Jack Hughes. Hughes has been the Devil’s leading scorer and his absence will undoubtedly be felt. Alexander Holtz is expected to replace Hughes. The Devils will need players like Jesper Bratt and Dougie Hamilton to step up in Hughes absence if they want a chance in this game.

Another factor working against the Devils’ is their home record. While they still have a home record of over .500, a majority of the Devils’ wins this season have come in away games. With 19 away wins vs 10 home wins, the Devils need to start channeling the energy of the crowd at the Prudential Center.

For the Kraken, they just need to take care of business on offense. The Kraken have scored the most 5-on-5 goals this year and don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

Devils’ goalie Vitek Vanecek will have his hands full with players like Andre Burakovsky, Jordan Eberle and Matty Beniers breathing down his neck. Seattle needs to time their shots well and catch this Devils defense off guard for their best chance in this game.

Defensively for the Kraken, all eyes will be on Adam Larsson and Vince Dunn. Larsson’s impact has been felt all season long. Larsson has forced opponents to create 5% fewer expected  goals than league average.
Alongside him, Dunn has been having a stellar season where he has emerged as one of the top defensemen in the league. Dunn is currently a 99th percentile defenseman, according to The Atlantic.

With Jack Hughes out, look for these two to have huge nights.

In the end, I see this as the Kraken’s game to lose. The Devils have too much working against them and won’t be able to overcome it Thursday night. I have the Kraken taking this one, 3-1.

Ethan Ellis is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email ece5133@psu.edu