Evander Kane scores hat trick as Oilers down Kraken 6-4

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - MARCH 18: Martin Jones #30 of the Seattle Kraken reacts after a hat trick by Evander Kane #91 of the Edmonton Oilers during the third period at Climate Pledge Arena on March 18, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chamb

Evander Kane scored a hat trick and Connor McDavid scored his NHL leading 58th goal of the season as the Seattle Kraken were unable to keep pace with the Edmonton Oilers in a 6-4 loss on Saturday afternoon.

The Kraken saw starting goaltender Philipp Grubauer leave the game in the second period with a non-COVID illness that kept him from returning to the game. Martin Jones replaced him in net for the rest of the game and took the loss for Seattle.

"Our team played a good hockey game today," head coach Dave Hakstol said. "It's an even hockey game. We worked extremely hard, especially on the offensive side of the puck. We worked hard. We ground for our offensive opportunities and generated real good opportunities for the majority of the 60 minutes. It's a disappointing outcome. Our team played hard. Our team played well. We had to play a little bit too much from behind, you know, starting right away with the first goal that squeaked in."

Seattle out-shot the Oilers by a 37-23 margin but couldn't keep up with the Oilers offensive firepower. They found themselves playing from behind all night as Kane's first goal came just 95 seconds into the first period.

Jared McCann had a great tip chance on Edmonton goaltender Stuart Skinner at the opposite end before the Oilers flipped the ice into a rush chance of their own. Kane's shot appeared to sneak through Graubuer's legs as he dropped into his butterfly position as Edmonton grabbed a 1-0 lead.

"We played a heck of a hockey game tonight. It's why it's disappointing. It feels bad," Hakstol said. "Having to play from behind is tough. A couple of the goals that went in take a little wind out of your sails. But we pushed right back in every instance."

Jaden Schwartz evened the contest five minutes later. A strong rush chance for Seattle ended with Schwartz tipping a shot from Vince Dunn behind Skinner to make it a 1-1 game. With the assist, Dunn extended his career-high and franchise record point streak to 12 straight games. He's just the second defenseman in the NHL this season to score a point in 12 consecutive games.

Spokane native Kailer Yamamoto gave the Oilers the lead again late in the first period. Yamamoto directed a pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins between Grubuaer's legs to send Edmonton to the dressing room with a 2-1 lead.

Grubauer returned to the net to start the second period before his illness became an issue he was unable to play through.

Seattle couldn't find the loose puck after a blocked Mattias Ekholm shot attempt. Instead, McDavid was the one to find the puck and he then passed to Kane for a one-time shot that beat Grubauer to make it a 3-1 game.

After having a clean look at an empty net in the first period only to have the puck jump over his stick, Jordan Eberle managed to beat Skinner to cut the Edmonton lead. Eberle picked the puck out of his skates and found himself in space in the left circle. He skated in and beat Skinner through his legs to cut the lead to 3-2

Jones replaced Grubauer in net at the TV timeout with 13:30 left to play in the second period. Grubauer immediately went down the tunnel toward the locker room and did not return to the bench for the rest of the contest.

"My understanding is illness came on at some point in time after the drop of the puck," Hakstol said. "He came out when he no longer felt good."

Edmonton immediately capitalized after the goalie change on a cold Jones as Zach Hyman beat him blocker side from the right circle to put the Oilers up 4-2.

"You want to try and limit the high quality chances and obviously we gave one early right down the slot so it doesn't help," Eberle said of trying to protect Jones after the goalie change.

Grubuaer would get company in the locker room shortly afterward.

John Hayden dropped the gloves for a fight with Oilers forward Klim Kostin that saw the pair eventually go down on the ice. Hayden appeared to get his right foot caught underneath him as he dropped to the ice and he headed for the locker room favoring that leg.

Hayden didn't return officially due to a lower body injury.

Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his third goal in his last four games to make it a one-goal contest again. Jamie Oleksiak led a rush after Vince Dunn forced a turnover in the defensive zone. Oleskiak passed to Yanni Gourde, who found Bjorkstrand for a clean look as he beat Skinner glove side to make it a 4-3 game.

"Big parts of the game I thought we played well but obviously you play a team like that, you know they're good at scoring goals so the details got to be there and you got to bare down and find a way to make it a closer game with goal scoring," Bjorkstrand said.

A Kraken power play chance went unconverted midway through the third period as Seattle looked to level the score. Instead, the Oilers scored seconds after the penalty expired. Kane took a half-ice pass from Leon Draisaitl to start a 2-on-1 chance as he ripped a shot over Jones' glove to restore the two-goal advantage.

McDavid then extended the lead with a power play goal after an Oleksiak hooking penalty to make it a 6-3 game. McDavid skated around Will Borgen and threw the puck between Jones' legs for a goal Seattle's goaltender would seemingly want to have back.

"A lot of guys you got to watch so really just got to stick together and battle hard and really just find a way to give them the least amount chances as possible," Bjorkstrand said.

Eeli Tolvanen scored his 15th goal of the season and 13th in 35 games with the Kraken with 48 seconds left to trim the final deficit.

With the loss, the Kraken fall three points behind Edmonton for the third playoff spot from the Pacific Division. Seattle remains in the top Wild Card spot two points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets, who beat the Nashville Predators 3-2 in overtime earlier on Saturday. The Kraken (83 pts) remain seven points clear of the Predators and Calgary Flames (76 pts), who are the first two teams out of the playoff picture.

"Obviously this is frustrating. You see the standings and where we're at. Obviously we'll fight until the end so big road trip for us come up," Eberle said.

Seattle plays at Dallas on Tuesday before a pair of games in Nashville against the Predators that could be pivotal in the race for playoffs spots.

If the Kraken are in need of goaltending help with Grubauer's status uncertain, Chris Dreidger has made five appearances for AHL Coachella Valley since clearing waivers last month. Driedger has a .917 save percentage with a 2.62 goals against average.