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St. Louis Blues vs Arizona Coyotes recap: where's the defense?

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The St. Louis Blues defeated the Arizona Coyotes 6-1 on Saturday night.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result. Well the Arizona Coyotes must be insane as early game struggles and mind-boggling defensive lapses did them in for the second time in four games, falling to the St. Louis Blues 6-1.

In fact, they did much of the same against the Edmonton Oilers in a 7-4 win on Wednesday, but were bailed out by a team that may be the league's worst.

The Coyotes are yet to score first in a game this season. The Coyotes are yet to correct defensive lapses that leave their goaltender hanging out to dry. The Coyotes continue to do all the things that cost them a playoff spot last season and cost them a pair of wins this season.

Even the once perfect penalty kill struggled on Saturday, giving up goals on all four penalty kill attempts.

"We didn't move quick enough, we didn't move the puck quick enough, we didn't check quick enough, all of the above," coach Dave Tippett said. "It was a test against a real good team and we didn't fare very well."

Mike Smith was not great, but it is hard to evaluate a goaltender who is forced to make save after save on high-quality scoring chances.

Conversely, Jake Allen was as good as could be asked in his first start since Apr. 2013. He stopped 24 of 25 shots for his first win since 2013.

If the Coyotes cannot rely on defense and goaltending to steer the ship, they are in big, big trouble. The offense has been there, but much like last season, much of it is a mirage.

"We need some push from within, we need some push from inside the room and that's kind of the gist of it," Shane Doan said. "You see the way that we played tonight, and that's not acceptable. As a group we've got to have some push from inside this room, and a lot of people, myself included, have to be a lot better than that and find ways to push each other if it's in practice, if it's in games, if it's doing the little things... be harder in every area and they were a good example of the way we have to be."

Faster starts would help Arizona, yet they cannot seem to get out of their own way after puck drop.

The Coyotes managed to hang on in the first period after going six minutes without a shot to start the game. They did not fare much better in the final 14, getting dominated at 5-on-5 and allowing a power play goal to David Backes.

The wheels fell off in the middle frame as the Coyotes failed to convert on their two power play attempts, while the Blues found the back of the net twice.

Alex Steen and Jaden Schwartz benefitted from a total lack of defense to score their first and second goals of the season respectively. Schwartz could have wrote his autobiography before shooting the puck if he desired.

The deficit could have been more if the Blues had scored on a 3-on-0 attempt after the Coyotes made the worst line change in the history of frozen water.

St. Louis piled on in the final frame as Schwartz added his second tally of the night 55 seconds into the third period. 

In a classic too little too late moment, the Coyotes avoided the shutout with Lauri Korpikoski's first goal of the season. A nifty no-look pass from Doan behind the net found Korpikoski all alone in front on the power play.

The Coyotes did not enjoy it much as the Blues answered back with a power play goal of their own from Jori Lehtera less than two minutes later.

Schwartz completed his hat trick with 2.1 seconds remaining in the game on the Blues' fourth power play goal.

The Coyotes will have a couple days off before beginning a two-game road trip that will take them to Nashville and Minnesota. Maybe getting away from the comforts of home will help Arizona return to its defensive roots.

Paw Prints

  • St. Louis' perspective: St. Louis Game Time
  • Martin Hanzal and Zbynek Michalek both left the game with lower-body injuries.
  • Before Backes' PPG, the Yotes were 10-for-10 on the PK.
  • Kyle Chipchura and Steve Ott dropped the mitts in the third period. It did little to affect the game.
  • Arizona had 11 recorded giveaways.
  • Attendance: 11,100

Three Stars

1. Jaden Schwartz - Hat trick and an assist for the winger.

2. Jake Allen - Stopped 24 of 25 shots

3. Vladimir Tarasenko - Three assists.

Looking Ahead

The Coyotes will travel to Nashville for a game against the Predators on Tuesday. Puck drop is scheduled for 5 p.m.