This was considered a season-defining trip for the Seattle Kraken.
Seven games in 11 days would determine whether the second-year franchise was a playoff contender or pretender.
Entering the trip’s finale Saturday in Chicago, the Kraken have provided an emphatic answer.
The Kraken have won the first six games, all but one by multiple goals, to prove they’re for real.
They won 3-0 Thursday against Boston, handing the NHL-leading Bruins their first regulation loss of the season at home.
“It’s a tough place to win, obviously,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “So for our guys, we should be proud of that. We did all the little things that you have to do to win: scored a couple timely goals, had some really good goaltending.”
Goaltender Martin Jones made 27 saves for his second consecutive shutout.
“I thought that was probably our most complete game of the season,” Jones said. “To come in and play how we did and come up with a win in this building, that’s a big step forward for us.”
The Kraken became the seventh team in NHL history to win each of its first six or more games of a trip. The last one to do so was the San Jose Sharks from Nov. 13-22, 2015.
They have either tied or outscored their opponents in 17 straight periods, a league record.
“It’s been fun,” Kraken forward Jordan Eberle said. “This has been a long road trip; it’s made it a lot easier when we’ve swept it so far. We’re a close-knit group, we have fun together, we win together, and I don’t think there’s really anyone in that locker room that really cares about the acknowledgment. It’s just a team mentality.”
The Blackhawks have had far less fun, at least until recently. Their 26 points are the fewest in the Western Conference and tied with Columbus for the league low.
But Chicago has won three in a row, including a 3-2 decision Thursday against defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado.
Petr Mrazek made 31 saves and had an assist for his first victory since Dec. 3.
“It felt good to get the win for us, especially after two wins, that’s nice,” Mrazek said. “Keep rolling so that … we learn how to win games.”
Taylor Raddysh gave Chicago the lead at 6:36 of the third period.
“Yeah, I think three complete games, and even a couple of games before that, I think I mentioned before, I thought we were coming,” Chicago coach Luke Richardson said.
“We had 40, 45 minutes, 50 minutes where we, not ran out of gas, but a team with maybe a little more depth flexed their muscles on us. We were right there, and I think just to see some results for the guys, and now that they see it, I think they’re pushing harder.
“I’ve been talking about us being connected on the ice, but off the ice, you can feel it.”
The Blackhawks could get a boost Saturday from the return of forward Patrick Kane, who has been out since Jan. 3 with a lower-body injury.
–Field Level Media