Thanksgiving is considered a significant benchmark in the NHL.
From the 2005-06 season through 2018-19, 76.3 percent of the teams that were in playoff position on the U.S. holiday made the postseason, according to NHL Stats.
That bodes well for the Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle Kraken, the top two teams in the Pacific Division, respectively, heading into Friday night’s matchup in Las Vegas.
“It’s relevant, otherwise they wouldn’t bring it up every year,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Still think we’ve got a lot of things we’ve got to do better. But … I like where we are at the break at Thanksgiving. Things can change, but we put ourselves in a really good spot.”
The Golden Knights defeated visiting Ottawa 4-1 Wednesday as goaltender Logan Thompson stopped 39 shots for his conference-leading 11th victory of the season.
Mark Stone, William Carrier, William Karlsson and Jack Eichel tallied for the Golden Knights.
Both Carrier and Karlsson scored highlight-reel goals.
“I think I’ve seen Karly do special things like that. But (Carrier), he’s playing awesome,” Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb said. “He’s been a rock star for us. He’s so hard to play against, even in practice, and now he’s showing it in games. I couldn’t be happier for him.”
The Golden Knights extended their points streak to four games (3-0-1).
“We’ve been hot right now,” said Carrier, who has three goals in the past two games and seven for the season, two shy of his career best. “Confidence is high.”
The same can be said in Seattle, where the second-year franchise is 8-1-1 over its past 10 games.
The Kraken wrapped up a six-game homestand with an 8-5 victory against San Jose on Wednesday.
“That was fun for the fans. It stunk for the coaches,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “This isn’t the way you draw it up, but it’s still a win. …
“I look at our goaltender (Martin Jones) and he didn’t let in a bad goal and he made some huge saves. You’ve gotta win games all different ways.”
Jaden Schwartz scored twice for Seattle, including an empty-netter in the final minute. Andre Burakovsky and rookie Matty Beniers each had a goal and two assists, and defenseman Vince Dunn had one goal and one assist as the Kraken set a team-record for most goals in a game.
“I think it was a game going back and forth a lot,” said Burakovsky, who has a team-leading 18 points in 19 games. “I think we’re doing a really good job taking care of the chances that we created and chances given to us. It was really good to see so many players contributing on the offensive side and defensive side … but overall two points is two points, so great win.”
This will be the second meeting between the division rivals this season. The Golden Knights won 5-2 on Oct. 15 in the Kraken’s home opener as Jonathan Marchessault scored twice and Shea Theodore had a goal and an assist.
–Field Level Media