Buffalo Sabres vs. Seattle Kraken Pick & Prediction JANUARY 9th 2024

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Last January, the Seattle Kraken became the first NHL team to ever sweep a seven-game road trip.

The Kraken won’t be able to match that this year as their Eastern swing, which begins Tuesday in Buffalo, lasts only six games.

But the Kraken are certainly headed in the right direction as they hit the road, having won six consecutive games and earning points in a franchise-record 10 straight (8-0-2).

“I’m happy to just keep this train rolling,” goaltender Joey Daccord said. “We’re playing great. We’re sticking to our game plan, we’re executing it well and it’s nice to see the results go our way.”

Daccord, filling in for the injured Philipp Grubauer, has been central to that effort. Daccord is 7-0-2 with a 1.31 goals-against average, .958 save percentage and two shutouts during the point streak.

“He’s been awesome, basically, every time he’s in the game,” Kraken center Matty Beniers said. “He’s so dialed. He loves winning. He’s been a real competitor back there for us, and he’s been a rock.”

The Kraken are starting to get healthy. The oft-injured Andre Burakovsky scored his first goal in nearly a year in a 4-1 victory Thursday against Ottawa. Fellow forward Jaden Schwartz, who led the team in scoring through the first six weeks of the season, is set to return to the lineup in Buffalo after being out since Nov. 28 with a lower-body injury.

“I think this is the most healthy we’ve been,” Schwartz said. “We’ve had some pretty significant injuries over the course of the season, and we’ve found ways to keep winning. We had that one bad stretch (an eight-game winless streak). But generally, our team has had to step up and they’ve done a good job.

“I really, really like our team. I really like our depth. The forwards, defense and even in net. I really feel good about this group.”

The Sabres have won two straight for the first time since Oct. 29-Nov. 1 and three of four entering Tuesday’s game.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 40 saves Saturday as the Sabres won 3-1 at Pittsburgh. Zemgus Girgensons scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period and Rasmus Dahlin and Alex Tuch also tallied.

“I’ve said it for weeks now, it’s a mentality,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “Talked about some mojo, some swagger. We didn’t have that and we played with fear … you don’t came through that game (Saturday) unless you have that swagger and fearlessness.”

The Penguins had two goals overturned on coach’s challenges, but that didn’t take away from Luukkonen’s performance.

“It’s incredible. I think that was the most confident, poised I’ve seen him play in his whole career,” Tuch said of the goalie. “He’s got a shutout or two, but that was just so much confidence. You know what? A couple of goals against that ended up going back and he didn’t get rattled at all.

“He went right back in there, made a couple big saves on breakaways. Never wavered. I thought he was reading the play really well.”

–Field Level Media

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