3 Game Essentials | Kraken Vs. Golden Knights | March 30

One: Gourde Line Playing with Pace and More

Injured forward Brandon Tanev joined broadcasters John Forslund and JT Brown in the ROOT SPORTS Northwest TV booth during the second period of the Kraken’s rousing 6-1 win over playoff contender and divisional rival LA Thursday.

Like a lot of fans, Tanev said he appreciated how “the guys are playing with some pace, breaking down [the Kings defensive] structure, getting pucks to the net and being physical on the forecheck. “

That’s a punch list for how to continue what Yanni Gourde called a “team win” in LA, which was Game 2 in a set that started with a Saturday road game with the Kings. Gourde added net-front presence as another must-do on the list. His line with Karson Kuhlman and Victor Rask on the wings has been exhibiting all skills in their two games together.

Expect more Wednesday and for teammates to follow. Scouts rave about Rask’s hockey IQ and Kuhlman, returning from missing 18 games due to injury, brings “intensity, energy and speed,” Tanev said on the air.

Video: SEA @ LAK: Rask fires in a wrist shot from the circle

Two: Focus on Kraken ‘D’: Oleksiak and Dunn

With the six goals by six different Kraken players and 14 Seattle skaters overall appearing on Monday’s scoresheet, it might be easy to look past the defensive play of Jamie Oleksiakwho picked up his 14th assist to add to his career-high for a season.

Oleksiak joins the offensive rush regularly and responsibly for the Kraken. But what Gourde appreciated even more in Monday’s big win was the 6-foot-7, 255-pound defenseman’s work in the Kraken zone.

“‘Big Rig’ was so physical, he killed lots of plays down low,” Gourde said after the game. “No one could get around him. When someone does that, it’s leadership and brings more people to the fight.”

As for Dunn, he threw some hard hits in both LA games and collected two assists in Monday’s rout. He now has eight assists in the last seven games.

Maybe better yet, after Jared McCann was leveled by rookie Quinton Byfield Saturday, Dunn responded in the third period of that game with a hard check and continued his physical approach Monday, including a formidable scrap with LA defenseman Sean Durzi. His teammates and coaches clearly noticed.

Three: Know the Foe: Vegas Golden Knights (36-28-4, fourth place in the Pacific Division)

Vegas comes down for two games in three nights leading Dallas in the race for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference playoffs. But the lead is one standings point and Dallas has four games in hand going into Tuesday night’s Stars at Anaheim matchup.

For the second time this week, Seattle faces a team hungry for playoff points and looking to sweep. It’s a good test for a Kraken squad finding chemistry and sporting a 4-2-1 record in recent games despite trading away six regulars. It should be Seattle-worthy noisy – and fun – both nights.

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