Seattle Kraken Provide Perfect Test For New Jersey Devils

New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (13) and center Jack Hughes (86) celebrate their victory against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (13) and center Jack Hughes (86) celebrate their victory against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /
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The New Jersey Devils will wrap up their five-game West Coast road trip when they visit the Seattle Kraken on Thursday night. The matchup will likely be one of the league’s more intriguing matchups so far this season. Two of the league’s most exciting, young teams in one building. This one could be absolute fireworks. Let’s get into it.

The Devils enter Thursday with a 29-12-3 record, sitting one point behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the Metropolitan Division lead. New Jersey is riding a five-game winning streak, as well as a seven-game road winning streak. This team has a historic 18-2-1 record in enemy territory. They are already looking to complete the sweep of the five-game West Coast trip, adding to their sweeps of Eastern and Western Canada this season. This would be a remarkable feat. The Devils will also look to add to their perfect 10-0 record against the Pacific Division this season.

The Kraken enter Thursday with a 26-14-4 record, two points off the Pacific division lead with one game in hand on the leading Vegas Golden Knights. Seattle has followed up an impressive eight-game winning streak with two losses, dropping back-to-back games against the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 and the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. The Kraken are in the midst of the most challenging portion of their schedule. Thursday night’s game against the Devils will be their third game in four nights.

So, what gives?

This game will be heavily dependent on who has their legs. Whichever team takes care of the puck in their end and forces the other into turnovers will likely come out on the right side of this one. These teams are awfully similar, yet the Devils have the edge in this matchup. In their Tuesday night loss to Edmonton, Seattle looked like a young team that just came off a long winning streak, similar to the Devils earlier this season.

It appears like the Kraken have the potential to hit that same rough patch the Devils did in December. Look for the Devils to be more tenacious on the forecheck and able to force this young Seattle team into turnovers in prime positions. On the other end of the ice, the Devils will break out the puck and break the Kraken forecheck, allowing the Devils to use their speed to create offense.

Obviously, this is all dependent on the Devils having their legs on Thursday night. We all know they did not have their legs against the Sharks, although they stole two points from a bad team thanks to last-second heroics. Expect a better first period from the Devils and for them to put the Kraken on their heels early in their own building.

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Prediction 

Expect Mackenzie Blackwood to draw the assignment against the Kraken following his strong performance in Los Angeles on Saturday. Anticipate a quick, up-and-down game, Blackwood will make some big saves and the Devils will prevail in Seattle to extend their unbeaten streak to six games. Ondrej Palat will also score his first goal back from injury.

Devils 4 – Kraken 1