Key Arena Seattle

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Seattle Kraken Pick & Prediction JAN 17TH 2022

NHL | HOCKEY
TV: NBCSCH+ | ROOT
Logo Chicago Blackhawks
VS
Logo Seattle Kraken
0
OPENNER
5.5

-1.5 +245
CURRENT
5.5o -112

+103
MONEYLINE
-113

2
SCORE
3

Running their winning streak to a season-best five games is the carrot for the Chicago Blackhawks when they hit the road to face the struggling Seattle Kraken on Monday.

It has been quite the turnaround for the Blackhawks, who just over a week ago held a postgame, closed-door meeting after a 6-4 loss to the Arizona Coyotes stretched their losing skid to six outings.

"This is where you kind of get to know your team a little better, when they do close that door and they have a chat and powwow," interim coach Derek King said. "We know what's going on, but we don't know what's being said. The fact they acknowledged something had to be said or done about it, that's great. That means they're a team, and supporting each other to go on a winning streak here is a bonus."

The Blackhawks hit the road after earning a 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday, and admittedly are a long way from that squad that lost to the league's cellar-dwellers in Arizona.

"After that game, something sort of clicked for us," said defenseman Riley Stillman, who is enjoying a career-best five-game point-scoring streak.

Stillman isn't alone in boasting personal success. Forward Patrick Kane is riding a seven-game point streak in which he's collected nine points, while goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury recorded his 70th career shutout against the Ducks, becoming the 14th goalie in league history to reach that standard.

Meanwhile, the Kraken are on the other end of the spectrum. After kicking off a six-game homestand with a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, the expansion squad has lost nine straight games (0-8-1) and dropped 12 of 13 outings.

Everybody knew the potential for rough patches existed for the Kraken, but that doesn't take away the sting of a losing skid.

"You want to see the guys have success," coach Dave Hakstol said. "And obviously at the end of the day we need to win hockey games. Frustration isn't a part of it for me. I see the areas where we can get a little bit more out of our group. We can give a little bit more. And until things turn and offense starts to come easier, we're going to have to give a little bit more."

During their nine-game swoon, the Kraken have been outscored 37-19.

"We're working hard but we've got to get a little extra and find ways to win," forward Marcus Johansson said.

As if their losing skid isn't bad enough, goaltender Chris Driedger was placed in COVID-19 protocol on Sunday. Driedger, who started each of the last two games and surrendered two goals in each of them, is the lone Seattle player in protocol.

Seattle will likely turn to Philipp Grubauer -- who has looked nothing like the Vezina Trophy finalist from last season while with the Colorado Avalanche -- but will summon Antoine Bibeau from the American Hockey League.

--Field Level Media

PREDICTION
Chicago Blackhawks
2
3
Seattle Kraken

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Seattle Kraken Recap NOV 17TH 2021

The Derek King era has gotten off to a regal start.

The Chicago Blackhawks, mired in a decade-old, sexual abuse scandal and off to a 1-9-2 start, fired coach Jeremy Colliton and replaced him with King, who had been coaching their American Hockey League affiliate in Rockford, Ill.

So far, the Blackhawks have won all three of their games under King.

While they've still got a long way to go, they've at least moved past the expansion Seattle Kraken, their opponent Wednesday night at Climate Pledge Arena, in the Western Conference standings.

"When I first got here, you could just see how fragile they were," King said. "But they're enjoying it. It's not pretty sometimes, but that's the game. They're battling for each other, playing hard (and) we're just finding ways to win."

The Blackhawks won King's debut 2-1 in overtime against Nashville on Nov. 7, beat Pittsburgh 3-2 in a shootout two nights later and topped Arizona 2-1 in regulation Friday night as Dylan Strome scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period.

Alex DeBrincat also scored for Chicago, Patrick Kane had two assists and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 22 shots.

"We were all pretty embarrassed by what was going on," Strome said of the Blackhawks' early struggles. "Tied for last place in the league wasn't acceptable. I think it's just a little rejuvenation. The guys are playing for each other. The bench is up and everyone's talking and the crowd's into it. I think we're playing for each other now."

Kane said King, who played 14 seasons in the NHL, immediately had credibility with the players.

"He obviously was an effective player," Kane said. "When you see that and know that he played in the NHL for a long time, I think that respect comes right away."

Added teammate Riley Stillman: "You want to win for a guy like that. We want to play our hearts out for him. And I think that's what we've shown in the last two weeks."

Captain Jonathan Toews said the mood in the dressing room has improved.

"Winning a couple games will do that to you," Toews said. "Just overall, guys feel more relaxed, having fun ... Just going out there that we know what to do on the ice and just play the games."

The Kraken have lost four straight games and six of their past seven to drop into the Pacific Division cellar.

They suffered a 4-2 loss Saturday at home to Minnesota as Rem Pitlick, picked up by the Wild off waivers last month, scored his first three goals -- two on breakaways.

"What I think happened (Saturday) was I think we forced it a bit. Myself, it starts with me," said Kraken captain Mark Giordano, a former Norris Trophy winner as the league's top defenseman. "You can't have a turnover that leads to breakaways, and it happened twice to us (Saturday).

"When the game is tight and it's 1-0 and nothing is happening offensively, you got a chess match. You gotta be smart about where you turn over the puck, how you manage the puck, and it stung us for sure."

Marcus Johansson had a power-play goal for Seattle, and Alex Wennberg also tallied.

"There's a ton of emotion for our players. They're working hard," Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. "A couple of spots (Saturday) we pressed a little bit too hard and it cost us. I won't fault our guys' effort in any way, shape or form."

--Field Level Media

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