The Seattle Kraken will try to finish their difficult February on a high note when they visit the reeling St. Louis Blues Tuesday.
The Kraken have lost three straight games to fall to 3-6-1 this month. They took a 1-0 lead over the Maple Leafs at home Sunday before buckling after Toronto defenseman Mark Giordano scored to tie the game, and the Maple Leafs went on to win 5-1.
“Our response to the first goal against wasn’t good enough against a team with good ability,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “Our energy and the start of our hockey game was good. As I said, we have to have a better response. … That goal goes in, we got to be stiffer, not just the next few shifts, with the rest of the period.”
The Kraken will look to toughen defensively against the Blues at Enterprise Center. Hakstol believed the Maple Leafs outmuscled his team at key points of their game.
“They put pucks into the scoring area, and they’ve got a lot of good skill, but they’ve also got some heavy guys with hard sticks in there and they put pucks inside of there,” Hakstol said. “For me, there’s some of those struggles where we’re reaching instead of getting in and getting under, being physical at the puck. When you reach against a team like this, you get yourself in trouble.”
The Blues are winless (0-3-2) since the team traded captain Ryan O’Reilly and fellow center Noel Acciari to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“It’s no secret guys are frustrated,” Blues defenseman Justin Faulk said. “We all know where we’re at. … It’s not going well, and if guys aren’t frustrated and guys aren’t upset with mainly themselves, that’s a bigger issue.”
But Blues coach Craig Berube saw signs of progress in their 3-2 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
“I thought that we got a good response tonight. Competitive,” Berube said. “We were physical. Played hard. Just offensively, we’ve got to get more done. But overall, I was pretty pleased with the effort.”
On Sunday the Blues traded forward Ivan Barbashev to the Vegas Golden Knights for forward prospect Zach Dean. Prior to that, the Blues claimed forward Kasperi Kapanen off waivers from the Penguins.
Kapanen is expected to make his St. Louis debut against the Kraken.
“Here’s a guy that’s got a lot of talent,” Berube said of Kapanen. “Great speed. A lot of upside. You know, new lease, new team. I like the speed aspect of it. He’s produced in this league. I know he’s not having a great year this year offensively. But I’m excited.”
Blues defenseman Colton Parayko missed Monday’s practice after blocking a shot in Saturday’s game. But Berube called his absence just a “maintenance day.”
The teams split their first two games this season, with the Blues winning 4-3 in OT in Seattle on Oct. 19 and the Kraken winning 5-2 on Dec. 20 in Seattle.
Faulk scored twice, Brayden Schenn had a goal and an assist and Jordan Binnington made 32 saves in the Blues victory. In the second meeting, five different Kraken scored and Martin Jones made 22 saves to get the win.
–Field Level Media