Blues’ Dunn felt ‘great’ in return despite getting stick to injured face

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When Vince Dunn stepped on the ice for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, he did so carrying some extra weight.

Having missed the past six playoff games the St. Louis Blues had played in dating back to the Western Conference Final, Dunn skated onto the ice, not with a heavy heart, but with a heavy mouth, one he described as full of wires.

Dunn was done for the night back in Game 3 against the San Jose Sharks when a puck smacked him straight in the grill. A simple stitch job and a little bleach to clean up the mess weren’t going to cut it for Dunn on this occasion.

Despite a recovery that Dunn described as “going to be a long process” prior to Monday’s game, he suited up. He even elected to forego using a full face shield, unhappy with the vision problems it created.

Being out there, he said following the game, was great. But perhaps he should have found a way to make the face shield work.

“I got a stick in the face second shift again,” Dunn said. “Nothing is going well for my face right now.”

That’s a solid quote.

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The feeling of winning is sometimes the best pain-killer.

“It’s whatever right now,” Dunn said. “It’s an amazing time of the year. Things are going to happen that way. Other than [the stick in the face], I felt good.”

Dunn played 20 shifts in the game, nearly 13 minutes of ice time, and added an assist on Ryan O'Reilly‘s first of two on the night.

“I thought he had a great game, I really did,” head coach Craig Berube said. “It didn’t look like he missed a beat to me. Moving his feet well, moving the puck well, just the stuff that he does normally. It was really good to have him back. I mean it’s a tough injury, taking a puck in the face. But he felt good enough to play and went in there and did a great job for us.”

A similar situation could be playing out for Boston Bruins defensemen Zdeno Chara, who was on the receiving end of a puck to the chops himself Game 4.

The play dropped Chara to the ice, and although he’d return to the third period with a full face shield, he wouldn’t play any part.

His status for Game 5 is now up in the air.

Game 5 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final airs on NBC at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday (stream here).


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck