Seattle Kraken vs. Nashville Predators Pick & Prediction MARCH 25th 2023

Stadium: Bridgestone Arena Nashville
Logo Seattle Kraken
Logo Nashville Predators

-1.5 +180
6o -108



Forgive Eeli Tolvanen if he wasn't feeling too nostalgic Thursday.

The Seattle Kraken forward received a tribute on the video board in the first period of his first game back in Nashville since being picked up off waivers from the Predators in December. The teams will complete their two-game series in Nashville Saturday afternoon.

A first-round pick by Nashville in 2017, Tolvanen has found success in Seattle, scoring 13 goals and adding 10 assists in 37 games.

But rather than reflect, he preferred to talk about the playoff implications of the mini-series.

"It's kind of big for both of these teams," Tolvanen said. "I feel like it's going to be kind of like a playoff match. ... They're playing for a playoff spot, and we're still playing for a playoff spot. So, it's going to be a big two games."

Thursday's game felt like a postseason contest, with the Predators winning 2-1 in a shootout.

The Kraken (39-24-8, 86 points) are currently atop the Western Conference's wild-card standings, while the Predators (36-26-8, 80 points) are trying to track down Winnipeg, which has 85 points, for the second and final wild-card berth. Nashville has three games in hand on the Jets and one on the Kraken.

"Yeah, all we can do is continue to play hard like we are and win hockey games, kind of let the chips fall where they may," Predators defenseman Tyson Barrie said. "We're proud of the work we're putting in here, and you never know where it can take you."

Goaltender Juuse Saros made 27 saves and didn't allow a goal in the shootout and Kiefer Sherwood scored in regulation for the Predators, who have won two straight and are 5-2-1 over their past eight games.

"We've had great goaltending all year long," Predators coach John Hynes said. "(Saros) is playing really well. ... You need good goaltending to win. You look at any team that's in the playoffs. It's one of the most important positions in the game. When you have solid goaltending, it gives you a chance every night."

Daniel Sprong scored for Seattle, which had a six-game road winning streak snapped. Goalie Joey Daccord made 23 saves in his second straight start since being called up on an emergency basis from AHL affiliate Coachella Valley because Philipp Grubauer has been suffering from a non-COVID illness.

"I think we had our opportunities," said the Kraken's Morgan Geekie, who assisted on Sprong's goal for a fourth line that has scored four of the team's past five regulation goals. "You know, they're a good team over there and fighting just as much as we are. I think there are some good things we can take out of Thursday and some things we can learn from."

As for those lessons, Geekie sounded like a schoolteacher.

"Minimize some of their Grade-A chances and make them into some Bs and Cs," Geekie said.

Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said he envisions more of the same Saturday.

"Unfortunately, we didn't get the extra point (Thursday), but we've got to turn the page quickly and look at a couple of areas to be a little bit better in, and pretty much expect a very similar game," Hakstol said. "These two teams are going to be fighting hard for points on Saturday afternoon."

--Field Level Media

Seattle Kraken
Nashville Predators

Seattle Kraken vs. Nashville Predators Recap MAR 25TH 2023

Eeli Tolvanen scored twice against his former team, his first multi-goal game in the NHL, as the Seattle Kraken defeated the host Nashville Predators 7-2 Saturday afternoon.

Jared McCann had a goal and two assists, Oliver Bjorkstrand had one of each and Daniel Sprong and Adam Larsson also scored for Seattle (40-24-8, 88 points), which leads the Western Conference's wild-card playoff race.

Vince Dunn added two assists and goaltender Philipp Grubauer, who returned after missing two games with a non-COVID illness, made 14 saves.

Tyson Barrie and Matt Duchene each had a goal and an assist, Philip Tomasino added two helpers and Juuse Saros stopped 32 of 39 shots for Nashville (36-27-8, 80 points), which had a two-game winning streak snapped. That included a 2-1 shootout victory Thursday against the Kraken in the opener of the two-game series.

Seattle took a 2-0 lead in the first period while outshooting the Predators 13-1.

Sprong opened the scoring at 3:13, putting a rebound of Ryan Donato's shot into the net.

Tolvanen, a 2017 first-round pick by the Predators who was picked up off waivers by Seattle in December, extended the lead on the power play at 17:37, putting a wrist shot from the top of the right faceoff circle past a screened Saros.

Barrie made it 2-1 on a rebound of Tomasino's shot 1:43 into the second.

Tolvanen scored his second unassisted at 17:16 of the second. Saros came out of his crease to play the puck and prevent a breakaway, but his clearing attempt ricocheted off the left-wing boards and right to Tolvanen, who fired the puck into the open net from the top of the faceoff circle. It was Tolvanen's 15th goal in 38 games with the Kraken.

The Predators again pulled within a goal as Duchene tipped Barrie's shot over Grubauer's shoulder just 53 seconds into the third.

Larsson, Matty Beniers, McCann and Bjorkstrand scored in the third as Seattle pulled away.

The Kraken set an NHL record for largest second-season improvement for an expansion franchise. They've accumulated 28 more points than during their inaugural campaign, breaking the record of 26 set by the 1925-26 Boston Bruins and matched by the 1973-74 New York Islanders.

--Field Level Media