Home Hand Games 3 Game Essentials | Kraken at Islanders | Feb. 2

3 Game Essentials | Kraken at Islanders | Feb. 2

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One: Getting Pucks into the Scoring Area

When coach Dave Hakstol talked about missed opportunities in Tuesday’s tough loss to Boston, he pointed to some shots that went wide of the net on the six power plays, none of which were converted. Making necessary adjustments could help finish this road trip at 2-2 when facing the Islanders Wednesday.

“We had a couple of good opportunities that missed by a couple of inches,” Hakstol said. “We need to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Hakstol addressed a follow-up question about whether Kraken players can adjust to not shoot wide on such chances:

“You can’t be so fine. Those pucks have to get into the scoring area. There are certain opportunities when you shoot to score and should be. We missed a couple of those.

“Other times, get pucks to the scoring area, then look for rebounds or a second puck. [In the second period], we put a few into his glove [referring to Boston goalie Linus Ullmark] with no screen. We need to get pucks to the net and find chaos, like we did in the third period.”

One more possible outcome of those wide shots: They can carom off the boards and out of the zone, especially during power plays, canceling offensive possession and setting up for another scoring attempt.

 

Two: Eye on Kraken: Giordano

In large part because he “quarterbacks” the power play, captain Mark Giordano logged just shy of 25 minute of ice time Tuesday night. It’s a quick turnaround to be back on the ice at the brand-new UBS Arena, but Giordano appears willing and able to keep the marathon minutes.

He still plays with energy and pace, making plays on the defensive end and regularly jumping into the offensive flow. He is a role model for every teammate and all young fans aspiring to be a hockey player, on and off the ice.

 

Three: Know the Foe: New York Islanders (16-16-6, 6th in Metropolitan Division)

The Islanders were projected as Stanley Cup contenders this season, but spent the latter part of the first half of the season getting back to .500. Even with a winning coach such as Barry Trotz, the postseason is a wobbly proposition.

But NYI seems to be turning the corner and getting key players back from injury, most recently defenseman Ryan Pulock. Mathew Barzal scored his 10th goal of the season in a 4-1 win over Ottawa Tuesday. This roster did make the conference final two postseasons ago and was in the final eight last year.

Despite giving up a goal on the Senators’ second shot, goalie Ilya Sorokin was sharp for the remainder of the game, especially to keep the game within striking distance until the offense kicked in. His 26-save performance earned his 13th win of the season and improved his record to 13-8-5.

With the All-Star break pending Thursday, maybe Trotz goes back to his hot hand, Sorokin, or will he tap Semyon Varlamov, the 33-year-old veteran who is 3-8-1 to date with a .915 save percentage.