Blues Game Day: Kraken don't figure to be a cakewalk |  St.  Louis Blues

Blues Game Day: Kraken don’t figure to be a cakewalk | St. Louis Blues

Seattle (22-41-6) may be down near the bottom of the overall standings, but when it comes to playing the Blues the Kraken have proven to be a tough out.

“They play good structured hockey,” coach Craig Berube said after Wednesday’s morning skate at Enterprise Center. “You don’t get a lot of opportunities offensively. Their shots against are one of the best in the league. I think 1-2 in the league. Maybe 2. “

Berube was off only slightly in his rankings – the Kraken are allowing just 29.0 shots on goal per game, which ranks fourth-best in the league. But you get the point.

“You gotta work for your offense,” Berube said. “We’re gonna have to work for our opportunities. They protect their net really well and so they’re 5-4-1 in their last 10. They beat Dallas last game.

“So we’re gonna have to play well. . . .It’s just not gonna happen (automatically). All these plays are not gonna be there to be made. You gotta work. You gotta shoot pucks. And you gotta get on the inside. We’re gonna have to get some ugly goals against them. ”

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What happened in the first two games of the season series, illustrates Berube’s point. The Blues needed two third-period goals to rally from a 1-0 deficit when the teams last played here on Jan. 13.

In the rematch Jan. 21 in Seattle, the Blues were up only 2-0 before scoring three times in the third period – one of which was a penalty shot by Colton Parayko

But Kraken coach Dave Hakstol realizes his expansion team is up against a tough challenge in the Blues, who seem to be gaining momentum for the stretch run.

“This is arguably the deepest team in the National Hockey League,” Hakstol said. “If you look at their group of forwards, they got all their top nine forwards – everyone of ’em – has 41-plus points. Everyone has 15 goals-plus.

“So the depth of their team is impressive. And it doesn’t stop there. On their back end, they’re a good, solid, sound team. ”

Chris Driedger, who stopped 25 of 27 shots in the Jan. 13 game here, is scheduled to start in goal for the Kraken in Wednesday’s 7 pm game. He’s 1-1-0 against the Blues in his career, with a 1.52 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage.

After playing several games paired with Justin Faulk following the Torey Krug injury, Marco Scandella has returned to where he started his tenure in St. Louis in 2020 – back with Parayko.

“Playing with ‘Big Par’ with the long stick, I feel like we work well together closing out plays,” Scandella said. “And we’re just finding our game just going into the final stretch here.”

After struggling earlier in the season with some turnovers, Scandella has picked up his play recently. Since returning from a lower body injury that sidelined him for 11 games, Scandella is plus-10 over 13 games.

“I’m not thinking about the past,” Scandella said. “I’m just moving forward one day at a time. I feel like I’m playing really good hockey right now and I gotta stick to it and keep working hard and being physical out there. ”

Berube agrees with that assessment

“Scandy’s played well for a while now in my opinion,” Berube said. “Again, he’s being hard to play against. He’s being physical. Using his stick and just making simple plays up the ice out of his own end.

“You just gotta be simple. It might have to be just off the glass and out, but that’s the way you gotta do it. ”

Blues’ projected lineup

Buchnevich-Thomas-Tarasenko

MacEachern-Walker-Toropchenko

• Robert Thomas enters tonight’s game with a six-game point streak (three goals, eight assists), matching his career high.

• The Blues are 14-3-3 against the Pacific Division this season and have just four games remaining against the division: Seattle tonight, at San Jose on April 21, at Anaheim on April 24, and Vegas on April 29.

• Brayden Schenn leads the Blues with 38 points (16 goals, 22 assists) since Jan. 1; Schenn is one shy of 300 career assists.

• Ville Husso, who starts again tonight, is 12-2-1 at home this season with a 1.95 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage.

• Seattle has scored six shorthanded goals over their last 18 games, leading the league over that span.

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