Blues Gameday Preview: Seattle Kraken – 4/6/2022

The St. Louis Blues welcome the Seattle Kraken back to town tonight and look to extend their point streak to six games in the process. The Blues have won four of their last five games and have not lost in regulation since they hosted the Carolina Hurricanes on March 26 in a 7-2 loss. Tonight’s matchup will be another favorable one if the club can put together another strong performance against a lower-ranked team in the NHL.

2 Storylines: Blues (39-20-10)

Blues Finding Recipe for Success

The Blues have had trouble all season long seemingly playing down to lower-ranked teams in the NHL while oftentimes holding their own against the NHL’s best. This has not been the case as of late, especially after the club’s 5-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night. With a record of 22-43-5, the Coyotes are one of the NHL’s lowest-ranked teams this season. The game allowed the Blues to return home and set the tone for their four-game homestand.

Related: Blues Weekly: Tarasenko, Husso, Binnington, Goal Scoring & More

After the game, Blues head coach Craig Berube praised his team’s performance: “We had good life. Being on that long road trip (three games in Western Canada), you worry about it a little bit coming home, but guys were good. They came out hard.” The club’s performance was noted even by opposing head coach Andre Tourigny: “They played a good game. “They were big, heavy, strong. They hit, they skate. If the club can come out with the same heavy style of play.”

The Blues will need to keep their composure in their final 13 games of the season. While the team’s odds of avoiding a Wild Card slot are good, the Nashville Predators sit within striking distance should the club hit another bump in the road.

Ville Husso is Blues’ Number One Netminder

One of the biggest storylines of the season in St. Louis has been the battle for the starting goaltending position between Ville Husso and Stanley Cup champion, Jordan Binnington. The Blues have shown nothing but faith in Binnington that they rewarded him with a six-year, $36 million contract extension on March 11, 2021. However, his ability to play with confidence and consistently string together wins for the club has forced Berube to move forward with Husso.

Before Binnington and the Blues won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, it was Husso that was projected to be the future number one goaltender for the organization. During their championship season, Binnington was recalled due to an injury to Husso and the rest is history. Now that he has acclimated to the NHL, Husso is running away with the starting position and leaving his fellow goaltender eating his dust.

This season, Husso is 20-6-5 with a 2.41 goals-against average (GAA), and a .923 save percentage (SV%) while Binnington has a 13-13-4 record, 3.25 GAA, and .899 SV%.

2 Storylines: Kraken (22-41-6)

Wennberg on Fire for Kraken

Currently ranked in the top five point producers for Seattle, Wennberg has produced two goals and four points over his last five games. For a team that has struggled with a 5-4-1 record in their last 10 games, he has been a point of consistency registering at least a point in seven of his team’s last 10 games.

Alex Wennberg, Seattle Kraken
Alex Wennberg, Seattle Kraken (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Wennberg has proven he can score in the NHL after producing 17 goals in 56 games with the Florida Panthers during the 2020-21 season. Though he has not re-captured that scoring touch, the 27-year-old Swede continues to be a viable option for the Kraken moving forward.

Cale Fleury Back with Kraken

The Kraken announced the recall of Fleury from their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers. As one of the franchises’ top defensive prospects, Fleury is a sound defenseman with bottom-four pairing upside moving forward. To remain in the NHL, he will need to improve his speed, transition, and defensive awareness which can lead to odd-man rushes.

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In the AHL this season, Fleury is currently tied among defensemen for 14th in points with seven goals and 33 points and a plus-13 rating.

Players to Watch

St. Louis: Robert Thomas – Three goals and nine points in his last five games

Seattle: Alexander Wennberg – Two goals and four points in his last five games

Projected Line Combinations

St. Louis Blues

Left WingCenterRight Wing
Brandon SaadRyan O’ReillyDavid Perron
Pavel BuchnevichRobert Thomas Vladimir Tarasenko
Ivan BarbashevBrayden SchennJordan Kyrou
Mackenzie MacEachernNathan WalkerAlexi Toropchenko
Left DefenseRight Defense
Marco Scandella Colton Parayko
Nick LeddyJustin Faulk
Cale RosenRobert Bortuzzo
Starting Goalie
Ville Husso

Seattle Kraken

Left WingCenterRight Wing
Ryan DonatoAlexander WennbergJordan Eberle
Jared McCannRiley SheahanKarson Kuhlman
Victor RaskYanni GourdeKole Lind
Joonas DonskoiMorgan GeekieDaniel Sprong
Left DefenseRight Defense
Vince DunnAdam Larsson
Jamie OleksiakCale Fleury
Carson SoucyWilliam Borgen
Starting Goalie
Chris Driedger

Blues’ Next Game: Thursday, April 8 vs Minnesota Wild (7 PM CST)

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