The Seattle Kraken will play five of their next six games on the road, starting Thursday night at San Jose.
Remarkably, that might bolster Seattle’s playoff chances.
The Kraken are a middling 16-14-4 at home this season, going 1-2-1 on their just-completed four-game homestand to drop behind Edmonton in the chase for third place in the Pacific Division.
Seattle remains atop the wild-card race in the Western Conference, six points ahead of Nashville for the last playoff berth, in large part because of its 21-9-3 road record.
“Bottom line, we didn’t get job done. At the end of the day that’s what matters,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said after Monday’s 5-2 loss to Dallas that extended his team’s skid to three games (0-2-1). ” … We’ve been a group that’s been able to turn the page and go back to the next job at hand. This group has to be able to do that again.”
The Kraken’s penalty-killing unit came undone Monday, allowing three goals in four opportunities. Seattle had given up just one man-advantage tally on 32 chances over its previous 13 games, including a franchise-record eight-game streak without allowing one.
“Obviously, (the Stars) did their homework, but we’ve got to be better than that,” Kraken center and penalty killer Alex Wennberg said. “I think we had good minutes, but the special teams were the (difference).”
Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn had two assists to extend his point streak to a team-record 10 consecutive games, during which he has three goals and 12 helpers.
Dunn has 36 points since Jan. 1, the most in the league by a defenseman in that span — just ahead of New Jersey’s Dougie Hamilton and San Jose’s Erik Karlsson.
Dunn is the first defenseman to have two separate nine-game point streaks in the same season since Washington’s Mike Green in 2009-10, according to NHL Stats.
The Sharks became the first team eliminated from playoff contention with a 6-5 overtime loss to visiting Columbus on Tuesday.
“I thought it was very loose, I thought it had a pond hockey feel to it from our end of it,” Sharks coach David Quinn said. “You’re not going to win hockey games and give up six goals and be that loose and give up the chances we gave up.”
William Eklund scored his first NHL goal, Logan Couture had a goal and two assists and goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen made 42 saves for the Sharks, who have lost nine of their past 10 games (1-7-2).
Couture’s 224th career even-strength tally equaled Joe Pavelski for second place in Sharks history behind only Patrick Marleau (342).
San Jose’s current playoff drought extended to four seasons after it made the postseason in 14 of the previous 15 since 2003-04, a run that included five Western Conference final appearances and a trip to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.
This will be the third and final meeting between the Pacific Division rivals this season. The Kraken won 8-5 on Nov. 23 in Seattle, with the host Sharks coming away with a 4-0 victory on Feb. 20.