Last but not least, the Seattle Kraken have been a tough act this season when it comes to playing the blues. And Wednesday was similar in front of the 23rd sell-out crowd (18,096) of the season at the Enterprise Center.
When the teams met on January 13, the Blues were a goal behind after two periods. This time the Blues were ahead after two thirds – but only by one goal.
The Blues have struggled to edge out the bottom of the standings this season. But they nailed it Monday with a workmanlike 5-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes.
Could they do it twice in a row against a fellow runner?
The answer Wednesday was yes.
The Blues took care of another team to take care of with a 4-1 win over Seattle that took some hard work and elbow grease.
They improved to 40-20-10 for the season for 90 points. That’s just a point behind second-placed Minnesota in the Central Division. And wouldn’t you know, the Wild are in town for a showdown competition on Friday. Seattle fell to 22-42-6.
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The win extended the Blues’ points streak to six games (5-0-1).
The Blues had all sorts of chances early on, thanks in part to a six-minute penalty against the Kraken.
After just 2:59, Jonas Donskoi went off to bring Nathan Walker down and the Blues had some good chances but couldn’t untie Kraken goalie Chris Driedger.
Well, just 34 seconds after that penalty was nullified, the Kraken were back in the scapegoat when Jared McCann drew a four-minute high-stick penalty for drawing blood from Colton Parayko. The Blues have absolutely nothing going on in the first two minutes of this infraction. If you didn’t know better, you might even think the Kraken were on the power play and not St. Louis.
Seattle has six shorthanded goals in the league since February 21, and they almost scored a few here. In fact, Seattle had three shots from the penalty spot — plus a post hit by Carson Soucy — before the Blues even had a shot on target during their power play.
But the Blues’ first shot landed in the net. In an odd rush as Ivan Barbashev ran down the slot, he and Robert Thomas played a catch game with the puck. Thomas charged down the left wing, scoring last and smashing Driedger’s back door to make it 1-0 at the 8:38 mark of the opening period.
It was Thomas’ 16th goal of the season and extended his points streak to a career-best seven games. He has scored eight goals in his last 11 games.
It was a wild and easy opening period that saw Seattle create as many good chances as the Blues, but Ville Husso kept them off the scoresheet with some help from his defense, including a slide play from Calle Rosen to put a 2-on-1.
Despite all the hits this season, the Blues haven’t been quite as strong on the blue line. But they eventually had a 10-goal scorer at the back end when Justin Faulk gave the Blues a 2-0 lead at the 7:56 mark of second.
This was one of those games where the primary assist was almost more impressive than the goal itself. Brayden Schenn, the Blues’ points leader since Jan. 1 at 39, sent a cross-ice pass to Faulk, who tumbled down the left wing. Faulk defeated Driedger for his 10th goal of the season, his first 10-goal season since 2018-19 with the Carolina Hurricanes.
But the Kraken, who were aggressively attacking on Wednesday, quickly cut the lead in half. Just two minutes after Faulk’s goal, Seattle defender Will Borgen made a shot that appeared to smack Schenn’s stick to Jordan Eberle, who shot the loose puck past Husso for his 17th goal midway through the second goal achieve.
The Blues’ third-placed powerplay got two more chances late in the second period. But they couldn’t cash in until the end of the second, despite some good looks. However, they took the last power play into the third third.
The Blues had plenty of chances to extend their lead, including a Thomas hit against the post. But the Kraken also had his fair share of chances, including a Morgan Geekie breakaway that was canceled by Nick Leddy after a rushed backcheck.
When the Blues couldn’t deal with the 1:34 power play that continued into the third period, they were 1:5 on the power play. Seattle, on the other hand, still hadn’t had a single power play. And it was still 2-1.
But just when he was needed most, Jordan Kyrou woke from his recent nervousness and restored the Blues’ two-goal lead. Kyrou was trying to make his way through traffic when the puck bounced off Seattle defenseman Cale Fleury.
Kyrou hit the puck in mid-air – about knee high – and it landed in the net. This is called hand-eye coordination. Kyrou breathed a sigh of relief as the goal light went on for his 23rd game of the season and it was 3-1 after 2:34 of the final period.
Up until that result, Kyrou had scored just one goal in 14 games since early March. He’s also missed three games since then through illness, returning against Arizona on Monday.
After six power play chances from St. Louis, the Kraken finally got a power play with 4:44 to go when Alexei Toropchenko came off the field to make a save. But the Blues killed the penalty and picked up another two points.
But it was only after Ryan O’Reilly scored a goal without a net, his 17th of the season, with 1:15 left, did he finish the goal.