With no skating activity over the last two days, the physical break from action brings the next opportunity for the first win of the trip into Canada’s capital, and Canadian Tire Centre, for a 4pm PT puck drop between the Seattle Kraken and Ottawa Senators (93.3 FM KJR / Kraken Audio Network).
Center ice is technically 14 miles away in Kanata, a suburb of Ottawa and tucked away from the downtown bustle that is renowned along the path of Bank Street.
Both teams have never faced each other and enter Thursday night with similar circumstances: both nearly 30 points out of the playoff picture with 26 games to play or less.
The Kraken, taking the morning off with decisions reportedly still pending on the lineup, are two days removed from a 6-4 defeat to the host Toronto Maple Leafs - nearly to the finish line with a one-goal, third period lead slipping on an Auston Matthews hat trick.
Toronto banked three power play goals in six opportunities at five-on-four. It left the Kraken frustrated, with head coach Dave Hakstol bluntly addressing the shortcomings minutes after the final horn.
The penalty kill, at one point on an 18-of-20 run, is thirsty for a bounce back effort: they have yielded seven power play goals in 11 opportunities during the road trip.
Alex Wennberg, who has goals in three of the last four games, is in search of his first three game goal streak since Feb. 7-11 of last season. He jumped started a Kraken rally out of a two-goal deficit on a two-on-one break with Marcus Johansson, similar to Feb. 2 against Nashville, igniting a run of three unanswered goals.
Colin Blackwell, with a pair of shorthanded goals in the last eight days, has five points in the last four games. He is five goals away from setting a new career high, previously tucking 12 goals last season with the New York Rangers.
The Senators, shocking the St. Louis Blues in a 4-1 win Tuesday night to squash five straight losses, open a five-game homestand tonight with goaltender Anton Forsberg – who made a 10-bell save on Vladimir Tarasenko on Tuesday – expected to start in net.
Since Feb. 8, Forsberg has a .927 save percentage in nine appearances, facing four games of 40 shots or more in that stretch. Hs is ninth in the NHL with a .921 save percentage.
Ottawa has allowed over 33 shots per game this season, sixth most in the NHL.
Ottawa is led in scoring by forward and two-time All-Star Brady Tkachuk, who signed a seven-year deal in October and leads the Senators with 40 points. Josh Norris leads Ottawa with 20 goals.