Phoenix Coyotes vs St. Louis Blues preview: slump buster?

Dilip Vishwanat

The Coyotes begin the climb back up after hitting rock bottom last night in Winnipeg.

Today's a new day Phoenix Coyotes fans. New day, new game. A quick turnaround from last night's debacle in Winnipeg. For those who feel the Coyotes have hit rock bottom, there's nowhere to go but up. For those who note the team is four points back of a playoff spot with three games in hand, tonight is a great opportunity to cut that chasm in half.

Matchup at a glance

Coyotes Blues
Points 51 (5th in Pacific) 67 (2nd in Central)
G/game 2.89 (T-6th) 3.57 (1st)
GA/game 3.04 (26th) 2.20 (3rd)
PP% 19.4% (10th) 24.5% (3rd)
PK% 78.4% (26th) 85.6% (5th)

Phoenix Coyotes

The Coyotes come into Tuesday's game losers of three in a row and five of six in January. They travel from Winnipeg to the Gateway to the West to play the Blues less than 24 hours after losing 5-1 to the Jets. Phoenix's offense, defense and goaltending are all struggling. The Coyotes gave up 14 goals in three games since earning their first shutout of the season against Calgary. In that game against Calgary, the Coyotes scored six goals. They haven't combined to score six since.

A win tonight would put the Coyotes back on pace to make the playoffs, a tough task considering how well St. Louis has played as of late.

St. Louis Blues

The Blues have been sitting home since Saturday morning awaiting the arrival of the Desert Dogs, marking the beginning of a three-game homestand. St. Louis' seven-game winning streak was snapped by the Vancouver Canucks on Friday.

St. Louis is top-5 in four major categories: goals for, goals against, power play and penalty kill. A solid all-around team that works hard and has skill. No one in the NHL scores more than the Blues and Phoenix's defense and goaltending have been anything but steady this season.

For more info on the Blues check out St. Louis Game Time.

Keys to the Game

Stop taking penalties - 10 minor penalties last night, 10!

Stop taking penalties - Resulting in eight penalty kills, including four in the first period.

Stop taking penalties - Two fights were not included in the penalties listed above, but a bench minor for abusive language was.

Players to Watch

Mikkel Boedker

#89 / Left Wing / Phoenix Coyotes



Dec 16, 1989

Boedker has points in four of his last five games (3-3-6). Phoenix needs Boedker to continue his scoring pace to find their way back into the win column.

Alex Pietrangelo

#27 / Defenseman / St. Louis Blues



Jan 18, 1990

St. Louis' top defenseman is riding a five-game point streak (3-5-8) and will likely be on the ice more than any Blues player on Tuesday night.

Projected Starting Goaltenders

Thomas Greiss

#1 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes



Jan 29, 1986

Greiss got roughed up in his last start, giving up four goals in about half a game against the Anaheim Ducks. But, the German goalie still boasts a 2.11 GAA and a .929 save percentage and should get the start in the second game of a back-to-back.

Jaroslav Halak

#41 / Goalie / St. Louis Blues



May 13, 1985

Halak shut out Calgary in his last start and will man the net on Tuesday. He has a 2.31 GAA and a .911 save percentage this season.

Injury Report

The Coyotes are relatively healthy as they await the return of defenseman Zbynek Michalek (lower-body) from IR. Mike Ribeiro left last night's game with a lower-body injury and his status for tonight's game is uncertain.

St. Louis will be without leading scorer Alexander Steen (concussion). Roman Polak (lower-body) may come off IR and play tonight.

Puck Drop

Puck drop is scheduled for 6 p.m. and can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona and heard on 860 AM.

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