The Kraken penalty-killing unit is playing better, but it gets a big test versus the Blues

scheduled tribe. LOUIS – A Kraken penalty-killing unit that has shown improvement recently received an early game challenge that couldn’t quite progress against one of the biggest power play threats they’ve faced throughout the season.

The St. Louis Blues entered the night with the NHL’s second-best power play at 26.4%, anchored by a trio of Brayden Shannon, Ryan O’Reilly, and Vladimir Tarasenko. He combined for 61 goals and 94 assists so far, with Tarasenko scoring a club high 25 with 36 assists to go.

“It’s a good test for us,” said mainstay Riley Sheehan on the top penalty killing line after she skated Wednesday morning. “I think that’s the last time we’re figuring things out and playing with our systems the way we want.

“So, it’s a great test and we have a lot of opportunity to show us what we can do. I think if we can just keep rolling and keep the chemistry that we’re doing then I Looks like we’ll be fine.”

The Kraken gave the Blues several chances to power play in the opening minutes of the game, ending up with a Joonas Donskoy tripping penalty and then seeing Jared McCann take a double-minor for sticking high soon after. The Kraken actually had better scoring chances as they hit the first three minutes of McCann’s penalty – getting only three shots up to that point – but then Robert Thomas hit a wrist shot from the left circle to open the scoring 8. :38 points.

Sheehan said the Blues have a much higher “battle level” and they are better than most teams digging for loose pucks and getting them back on point to set up the power play. On that note, he feels that Kraken’s combat level has also been high in the two weeks since the trade deadline and should serve the team well.

Kraken has scored six shorthand goals in his last 18 games and is almost seventh when, during McCann’s double-miner, Carson Sousi found himself alone on goalkeeper Ville Husso and rattled a shot from the goalpost. Kraken lost their first game in January at Enterprise Center 2–1 and took a 1–0 lead in the final period. After trailing just 2–0 in the final frame, they were again beaten 5–0 at home by the Blues in the same month.

Kraken coach Dave Huckstole agreed that his team would need to fight every inch against a Blues team to make for a deep playoff run. The Blues have seven players with at least 20 goals, while Jared McCann has only one goal for the Kraken.

“This is arguably the deepest team in the National Hockey League,” Huxtall said. “If you look at their group of forwards, all their top nine forwards, they each have 41-plus points. They each have more than 15 goals. Therefore, the depth of his team is impressive. And it doesn’t stop there. At their back end they are a good, strong, solid team. So, the mindset and competitiveness of our group tonight through 60 Minutes is going to be really important.

“There are going to be swings of different speeds. We have to make sure that any negative swing is short-lived and we go back and carry on with the next innings. ,

Huckstol said having and maintaining “energy” has been a major focus for his team since the trade deadline. Rather than honing in on individual matchups against the well-balanced blues, he planned to focus on maintaining that energy level and showing groups the most ice time of it.

…Kel Fleury immediately got into sporting action Wednesday following his promotion from the AHL the day before. Fleury, who joined his older brother Hayden on the Kraken roster for the second time this season, finished with seven goals, 26 assists in 58 games for the AHL Charlotte Checkers.

The Kraken liked Fleury’s chivalry and puck movement during the two February road games he played for them on back-to-back nights against the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders. He teamed up with Jamie Oleksiak on Wednesday.

“It’s been an excellent year there,” Huxtall said of Fleury’s AHL campaign. “It followed right up with a few games he played with us when we were out on our eastern road trip. He played good hockey for us there. He did a really good job at back-to-back games. He played Charlotte It’s continued in the U.S. He’s been part of a decent run there to get into a solid playoff position.

“And he’s been one of the top defenders out there. He has done all that is asked of him and hence, he has earned this opportunity. He’s not on free look here. He has earned the opportunity to be here and be here for us to be involved in the Games.”

… after being selected from the Blues in the expansion draft, Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn made his latest return to St. Louis on Wednesday with eight assists in his last 10 games — seventh among NHL defensemen during that period. stay in place.

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