After setting an NHL record by sweeping a seven-game trip, the Seattle Kraken return home Monday.
If only briefly.
The Kraken, who have won a franchise-record eight straight, will play host to the Tampa Lightning in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee before refueling for a game Tuesday at Edmonton.
Seattle now has the best winning percentage (.667) in the Western Conference, and the franchise can match the victory total from its expansion season (27) by defeating the Lightning.
“We’ve made progress since last year. This group takes pride in playing hard together,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “They deserve the results that they’ve gotten to this point.
“More importantly, I believe we have the group in there that can keep perspective and continue pushing toward what the ultimate goal is in the regular-season schedule — to be part of the playoffs.”
Kraken alternate captain Jordan Eberle downplayed the NHL record.
“I can’t imagine many teams have been on a seven-game road trip,” he said. “That in itself — I’m not sure I’ve had one in my career.”
But it was the way the Kraken won that was perhaps more impressive. Six of the seven victories were by multiple goals, the lone one-score win coming when Buffalo pulled its goalie and they tallied with 22 seconds left in a 4-3 game.
The Kraken capped the trip with an 8-5 decision Saturday at Chicago, scoring six first-period goals.
“Obviously, we made some history, so it was nice,” said Kraken forward Jared McCann, who had his first NHL hat trick against the Blackhawks. “We didn’t have the best year last year, especially on the road. We were looking forward to the season. We added some new faces and made our team a lot deeper.”
The Lightning come in having won seven of their past nine games, including a 4-2 victory Saturday at St. Louis as Brayden Point had two goals and an assist.
“I liked how we skated,” Point said. “I thought the effort was there. I liked how we played … we need to build on that.”
Point has scored goals in 12 of his past 17 games, with 15 goals and six assists in that span.
“It’s amazing,” Lightning defenseman Zach Bogosian said of Point. “We have so many world-class players, but any time you get a chance to see him up close on a daily basis — he’s a special person, a special player.
“Obviously, we’re super fortunate to have him on our team and he’s playing lights-out hockey right now.”
Nick Perbix added a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay before exiting late in the second period after being on the receiving end of a heavy hit.
“Too bad he couldn’t finish the game,” fellow Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. “It’s not an easy league.”
Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said he believes Perbix won’t miss any time.
“I don’t foresee this being a long-term thing,” Cooper said. “We kept him off for precaution.”
–Field Level Media