It’s game day! The Kraken begin a three-game road trip north of the border on Thursday when they visit the Jets in frigid Winnipeg, where the beer flows like wine, and… I forget the rest.

Anyway, it’s super cold in Winnipeg.

The Souce is loose

Carson Soucy is expected to play his first game since injuring his leg in the first period of a Jan. 23 Kraken win over the Florida Panthers. His return means that Seattle’s blue line is back to full health, and it also means that the carousel of healthy scratches will begin anew. Will Borgen sat last game, and coach Dave Hakstol indicated that Haydn Fleury would join him in the press box on Thursday.

Soucy had solidified his role in the lineup and was playing good hockey before he got hurt. He brings elements of size and physicality that are sorely missed when he is out, so it will be good to see him back in there. The six-foot-five Viking, Alberta, native has six goals and seven assists in 33 games. His injury caused him to miss eight games in total.

Jets still provide a tough test

It’s been a weird season for the Jets, who are mired in sixth place in the Central Division and are well out of a playoff spot. They saw their long-time coach, Paul Maurice, resign from his post in December, and he was replaced behind the bench by Dave Lowry on an interim basis. Since the change, Winnipeg has seen mixed results, going 8-8-3 under Lowry, and doing little to get itself back in the hunt.

These teams played each other in Seattle on Dec. 9. Winnipeg got a 3-0 win that night with solid play from netminder Connor Hellebuyck, who earned the first-ever shutout at Climate Pledge Arena, and an outstanding game from All-Star forward Kyle Connor. Connor has been excellent all season long and has put up 26 goals and 24 assists.

So, watch out for that guy, along with Blake Wheeler, who scored five points on Feb. 12 against Nashville, and Mark Scheifele, who has 11 points in his last five games. Scheifele had a hat trick and four points on Wednesday in a 6-3 win over a good Minnesota Wild team. Combined in those same five games, Wheeler and Scheifele have 21 points and are both red hot.

Hellebuyck is reportedly getting a rare night off and will hand the net over to Eric Comrie for the Jets against the Kraken. Comrie, a 26-year-old journeyman, has only had a few chances to play this season, but has done well in his opportunities, posting a 4-2-1 record with a 2.34 goals against average and a .920 save percentage.

It should be an advantage for Seattle that Winnipeg played on Wednesday, but again, the result for the Jets in that very recent game was a convincing win over an excellent team. So, they’re playing well right now.

Brown and Fitzhugh making history

JT Brown and Everett Fitzhugh will have the TV call, making history as the first-ever all-Black broadcast booth for an NHL hockey game. John Forslund called the Golden Knights versus Avalanche game in Vegas on Wednesday, so Fitzhugh was needed to slide into his spot covering TV play-by-play, while Ian Furness will have the radio call.

Projected lineup

First period highlights

Remarkably, the Kraken’s struggling power play converted just 3:21 into the game. After some good movement, Jared McCann teed Vince Dunn up for a blast, and Dunn wired it through traffic and into the bottom corner to give Seattle an early 1-0 lead.

Marcus Johansson extended Seattle’s lead to 2-0 at 12:15 when he got the puck from Alex Wennberg low in the Winnipeg zone. He swung around by the right hash, circled right into the slot untouched, and fired a shot to the low gloveside on Comrie.

It was a smart play by Johansson to take the ice that was given to him but a pretty atrocious defensive play by the Jets.

The poor version of Seattle’s power play once again reared its ugly head in the closing seconds of the period and gave a big hit to the momentum that the Kraken had built. With Pierre-Luc Dubois in the box after high sticking Joonas Donskoi, the Kraken gave up a shorthanded goal to Dominic Toninato. Toninato and Adam Lowry got a two-on-one rush, and Toninato put it away for his second goal in as many games against Seattle.

The goal came with just :12 left in the period, a time when you just can’t give up goals, especially when you’ve had a positive period.

Seattle went to the room with a 2-1 lead, but it should have been 2-0.

Second period highlights

…And… the lead was GONE!

Winnipeg killed off the rest of the Dubois penalty to start the second period. A rim-around actually got all the way out of the Kraken zone, but Jordan Eberle tried to pass it back and handed it over to Blake Wheeler inside the Seattle blue line. Wheeler found Dubois, who scored just seconds after leaving the penalty box with a snipe from a sharp angle that went off the far post and in.

The Jets got their first lead of the game at 11:54 of the second when Jamie Oleksiak lost the puck behind the Kraken net to Paul “Paulie Walnuts” Stastny. Stastny fed Wheeler in front, and the red-hot Wheeler put it away.

The game then took a feisty turn when Yanni Gourde hit Mark Scheifele with a dangerous shot in the back.

The second period ended with Winnipeg leading 3-2.

Third period highlights

The Kraken found an equalizer at 7:02 of the third period. Johansson picked up the puck below the goal line, after it had caromed off the endboards, and fed a sneaky little pass through the crease. Eberle was on the far post and just tapped it in to make it 3-3.

That was Eberle’s second goal in three games after going 22 games without scoring.

Seven minutes later, the Jets took the lead back, though. On a rush, Connor made a nice dish to Josh Morrissey, who had found a quiet spot on the weak side. Morrissey made a nice shot against the grain and put the Jets up 4-3.

Connor got an empty-net goal with less than a second left to make the final score 5-3.

That loss stung more than others. Seattle had a 2-0 lead and gave up a goal with 12 seconds left in the first period, completely taking the wind out of the Kraken’s sails. When Eberle got the tying goal in the third, it seemed like good things were coming, but a defensive over-commitment by the Kraken and a nice pass by Connor gave Morrissey a wide-open look. Bummer.

Check back throughout the game, as we will continue to update this article with highlights and news.