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St Louis Blues vs Arizona Coyotes preview: Weekend Blues

The Arizona Coyotes scored seven goals Wednesday night. Can they continue the offense against the bulwark that is the St Louis Blues?

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona has a chance to turn what could have been disastrous opening homestand after the 6-2 loss to Winnepeg into a three-game winning streak. The high-flying Coyotes offense will be met by the St Louis Blues, who most recently fell to the LA Kings 1-0 in a shootout Thursday night.

Matchup at a Glance

St Louis Blues(1-1-1) Arizona Coyotes(2-1-0)
Points 3 pts (5th Central) 4 pts (5th Pacific)
Goals per game 2.0 (T-25th) 4.0 (T-3rd)
Goals against per game 1.33 (2nd) 4.0 (T-27th)
Power play percentage 14.3 (21st) 27.3 (T-8th)
Penalty kill percentage 92.3 (T-7th) 100 (T-1st)
Even strength Fenwick For% 53.7% 50.0%
PDO 996 972

View from St Louis

The Blues come off a game they probably should have won Thursday night. After outshooting the Kings 43-18, the game would go to overtime, and subsequently the shootout. It was there that the Kings' Jeff Carter would score the only goal and give his team the win. Suffice it to say, fans of the Blue Note believe they got robbed by the sideshow.

Outside of that game, the Blues have given up the second fewest goals in the league through the opening week, but have struggled offensively. $28 million man Paul Stastny has led the way so far, with a team-leading four points. No one on the team has scored more than one goal, a troubling trend for a team that scored the sixth most goals in the league in 2013-14. Coming into the season, St Louis figured to be a player in the Western Conference. As such, they should not be taken lightly.

View from Arizona

Very few games are won when the opposition scores four goals, but the Coyotes notched their second consecutive win Wednesday night against the outmatched Edmonton Oilers. Thirteen Coyotes notched a point in the game (12 skaters and even Mike Smith got an assist). The offensive showcase was extraordinary -- especially Mikkel Boedker's hat trick, but the defense has been far from perfect. With Smith not his normal self at the moment, the defense will need to help as much as it can.

Speaking of the Coyotes starter: two starts for Smith, two games with at least four goals allowed and a sub-.875 save percentage. Tippett has not announced a starter for tonight's game yet, but Smith has looked incredibly shaky at this point in the season. Tippett has said he does not want a goalie controversy in the desert, but it may be a prudent decision to give Devan Dubnyk the start.

Keys to the Game

  • Kick them while they are down - St. Louis has not been playing to the same level as they were last season. No one wants to be someone's slump buster. Arizona needs to take control and not give them any opportunities to establish a comfort level.
  • Play dirty, score dirty - With forwards like David BackesTJ Oshie and Alex Steen and some top-notch blueliners in Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk, the Blues on paper are a much more talented team than the Coyotes. Stop me if you have heard this before, but Arizona will need to outwork the opposition if they want to pull out ahead in this one.
  • Finish at home - Ending the homestand on a high note will do wonders for this team from a mentality and momentum perspective. Especially since this is a Saturday night; the stands should be packed with some Sedona red. Give the fans what they paid for and utilize the home field advantage.

Who's Hot

With offensive slump all throughout the Blues lineup, newcomer Stastny has been the sole bright spot. But the best player in blue early in the season has been goaltender Brian Elliot. Coming off a shutout in regulation, the veteran has a .940 save percentage in his three starts this season.

When Boedker enters Gila River Arena for tonight's game, building security may have to confiscate his stick. The Dane's lumber has been one of the league's deadliest weapons in the early going, with five goals in the team's first three games due in large part to an absurd 38.5 shooting percentage. If he scores another one tonight, than he will become the first Coyote in franchise history to score in the first four games of the season.

Injury Report

For the Blues, forward Patrik Berglund is listed as day-to-day but played 17 minutes in Thursday's game against Los Angeles. Also, defenseman Carl Gunnarsson was cleared for full contact earlier in the week after offseason hip surgery. It is unlikely he plays.

For the Coyotes, they continue to stay healthy.

Puck Drop

Puck will drop at Gila River Arena in Glendale at 6 p.m. Arizona time. The game can be viewed locally on FOX Sports Arizona, and will be broadcast on 620AM.