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NHL Winter Classic preview: Seattle Kraken vs. Vegas Golden Knights

The 2024 NHL Winter Classic will be the 15th edition of the NHL's premier annual outdoor game and this year the Seattle Kraken will host the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Park, home of the Seattle Mariners.

The 2024 NHL Winter Classic will take place on Monday, January 1, 2024 at 3 PM ET, which is 12 PM PST local time. Viewers can watch the action on TNT and the streaming service MAX.

We'll take you through all you need to know about both teams and their key players heading into Monday's game.

Vegas Golden Knights Winter Classic preview

The Golden Knights won the Stanley Cup last season somewhat easily. After winning the Pacific division, they went 16-6 in the Stanley Cup playoffs to hoist the Cup.

Without much roster turnover, they got off to a stellar 11-0-1 start.

Vegas has been up and down since, but as of Thursday, they had dropped 5 out of their last 6 games. While this is hardly cause for concern this season, the Golden Knights will be anxious for a big win.

The Pacific division has some serious high-end competition and the Golden Knights need to get back to collecting points to keep pace. They have the talent to do so, with four players - Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, William Karlsson, and Jonathan Marchessault - having scored at least 10 goals this season.

Seattle Kraken Winter Classic preview

The Kraken were a surprise team in last year’s playoffs in just their second season in franchise history. They beat the reigning 2022 Stanley Cup champions the Colorado Avalanche in the first round before falling to the Dallas Stars in the second round.

Things have not gone so well for Seattle this season.

The Kraken had just 8 wins in the first 2 months of the season. They have 12 losses by one goal or via shootout, so marginal improvements would boost their playoff hopes and three straight wins - all by one goal - has the Kraken moving in the right direction.

They have scratched and clawed back to relevance and hope a Winter Classic win in front of a home crowd can be a catalyst to jumping back into playoff contention.

Players to watch in 2024 NHL Winter Classic

Jack Eichel

Since the day the Golden Knights acquired Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres, he has been a massive part of their team. He is a phenomenal two-way player who brings balance to the entire team.

He leads the Golden Knights in points this year with 40, comprised of 16 goals and 24 assists across 36 games played. Eichel will come across your screen plenty during the Winter Classic.

Mark Stone

Golden Knights captain Mark Stone was the first player in franchise history to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup.

For good reason, too, he is the first captain in franchise history, which is no surprise based on his game. Stone also has a very complete game which includes the ability to produce offensively, as well as help keep the other team off the scoreboard.

With 12 goals and 25 assists, the captain is second on the team in points and leads the team in assists. Look for Stone to make his presence known early and often on Monday.

Vince Dunn

An original Kraken, Vince Dunn has been stellar in his 3rd season donning a Seattle sweater.

As a defenseman, Dunn leads the Kraken with 29 points. He also averages the second most ice time per game of any Seattle skater.

This is a very important player on what hopes to be a playoff team. Dunn has certainly lived up to the responsibility put on him by head coach Dave Hakstol.

Oliver Bjorkstrand

Seattle’s leading forward scorer is Oliver Bjorkstrand. He has 11 goals and 27 points for the Kraken this year.

Bjorkstrand has scored 20+ goals in 4 out of his past 5 seasons, including his first with the Kraken last year. He appears well on his way to 20+ goals once again which will be very welcome by this offensively-challenged team.

Both teams looking for turnaround

As previously mentioned, the Golden Knights were a juggernaut for October. But since November 5th, they are 10-10-4, including losses in 5 out of their last 6 games.

This is a very good team, but they will not want to let this get out of hand as they are currently tied on points with the Vancouver Canucks for first place in the Pacific Division.

The Kraken have lost 12 games by just 1 goal, with 9 of those being after regulation. With that, they are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.

However, they look to be building. Seattle is 5-0-2 in their last 7 as of Thursday. They have won three straight games by one goal - against the Los Angeles Kings, the Anaheim Ducks, and the Calgary Flames.

This game will bring plenty of adrenaline with both teams hoping it will jump-start their seasons as they jockey for playoff positioning.

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