After winning the opener of a three-game homestand, the Seattle Kraken will continue their pursuit of a wild-card spot Saturday night against the Los Angeles Kings.
The Kraken (41-25-8, 90 points) defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 on Thursday to solidify their hold on the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
It was the start of a stretch of five of six games at home for Seattle.
“This group inside of this room has continued to find its way, to push for some things that we’ve wanted to push for,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said.
“We continue to be in that position, and there’s still work to do in order to get to that first goal that we have on the list.”
The Kings (43-22-10, 96 points), third in the Pacific Division, lost 2-0 to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday to go 0-2-0 halfway through a four-game trip.
The losses followed a 12-game points streak (10-0-2) that matched a franchise record.
Except for the Kings, the Kraken are playing a stretch of games mostly against teams out of playoff contention.
“I mean, we want to take advantage of every game,” said Jaden Schwartz, who had a goal and assist Thursday. “We want to get better. We want to keep improving. The two points are big, obviously.
“When you look at the standings, teams are trying to move up and you don’t want to leave it to the last two games of the year to have to win to get in. You want to build as much of a lead as you can. And so these are big.”
“Other teams are pretty good, too, right?” Hakstol said. “They’re trying to win. It’s the National Hockey League. You build wins through 60 minutes.”
The Ducks were stubborn and trailed 2-1 after two periods. Daniel Sprong scored a power-play goal late in the third period for the Kraken and Alex Wennberg added an empty-net goal.
“The power play did its job in extending the lead in the third period,” Hakstol said. “And that’s it. It closes out a good two points for us. It’s a real positive night.”
Joonas Korpisalo made 35 saves for the Kings on Thursday, but Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner stopped 43 shots to earn the shutout.
“I thought it was a (heck) of a game, both teams played really hard, and it came down to a bounce or a break or two, and they were able to score,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said.
“We had some real good looks, and we ran into a hot goaltender and didn’t quite get it over the goal line. But I thought it was a heck of a game.”
The Kings were without leading scorer Kevin Fiala (22 goals, 48 assists), who was a late scratch with a lower-body injury, and they lost defenseman Mikey Anderson 1:28 into the first period when he was hit from behind by Connor McDavid, who later scored his 300th career goal.
The Kings were also without forward Gabriel Vilardi (upper-body injury) for the second consecutive game.
“That’s not something you want, obviously — that’s three key guys out,” Kings defenseman Matt Roy said. “But there are no excuses. You just need to find ways to win, and hopefully they can get healthy and join us as soon as they can.”
–Field Level Media