More coverage from St. Louis before puck drop with Everett Fitzhugh and Dave Tomlinson at 5pm: Kraken This Morning with Mike Benton covers Vince Dunn's first comments, returning to St. Louis, and a preview of the first matchup with the Blues after Wednesday's game in Dallas.
Vince Dunn couldn’t get a full morning skate to take a lap around the Enterprise Center ice, soak up the banners, and maybe even walk through a hallway to cross paths with former teammates like on a normal game day.
Nonetheless, a collision course with his former team, the St. Louis Blues, will bring the Seattle Kraken to the finale of their three-game trip tonight, 5pm PT (950 KJR / Kraken Audio Network).
Dunn won a Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2018-19, the centerpiece achievement of four seasons to begin his NHL career before the Kraken scooped him in last summer’s expansion draft.
“A lot of mixed emotions right now,” said Dunn. “But I have a good relationship with my teammates and all the staff who are still there, so it’ll be exciting to play against them. I’m looking forward to the drop of the puck.”
The Kraken defenseman, leading all team blueliners with 14 points in 30 games, recalled when leaving St. Louis, he mentioned hope of no boos from the crowd in his first game back.
Dunn was asked about that again on Thursday morning.
“I hope not,” Dunn said with a smile.
The Kraken will need the element of crowd control on their side with the hope of snapping a seven-game winless skid, 0-6-1, and seizing their first win since beating San Jose in Northern California on December 14.
The Blues enter the evening with the fourth best home record in the NHL, 14-3-2, have a 12 game point streak at home, third longest in franchise history. Even though they had to squeak out a 2-1 win over Dallas in their last game on Sunday, the Blues offense has carried the load at home, at 3.7 goals per game.
Jordan Kyrou, already tying his career high with 14 goals in 32 games, leads the Blues in goals and also with 36 points. St. Louis has been without David Perron, Brayden Schenn, Vladimir Tarasenko, Colton Parayko, and Scott Perunovich – all in COVID-19 protocol as of Thursday morning.
Chris Driedger will start in net for the Kraken, expected to face the Blues’ Ville Husso.
Head coach Dave Hakstol, who projected the entire lineup at Dallas to be available again tonight, said frustrations from the 5-2 loss on Wednesday dictate the continued conversation of team culture.
“We’re continuing to talk about who we are and who we want to be as a hockey team,” said Hakstol. “We’re continuing to discuss that cultural piece. We’re working to build. That takes continued effort and care, day in and day out."
"There’s nothing easy about that process. We have to be willing to take that on, and that carries over to the details of the game.”