The Arizona Coyotes look to put an end on a four-game losing streak tonight in St. Louis against the Blues. This is the fifth and final game of a road trip in which the Coyotes have conceded 20 goals so far. Will the nightmare end this time around?
Matchup at a Glance
|Arizona Coyotes||St. Louis Blues|
|Points||27 (4th Pacific)||34 (2nd Central)|
|Goals For||2.74 (T-9th)||2.48 (T-18th)|
|Goals Against||3.15 (29th)||2.44 (11th)|
|Power Play||15.5% (28th)||17.1% (23rd)|
|Penalty Kill||81.4% (12th)||86.3% (3rd)|
|5v5 Corsi For||46.6% (27th)
View from Arizona
The Coyotes come off a heartbreaking loss in Carolina against the Hurricanes, falling 5-4 on a goal scored in the last 13 seconds of the game. That was their fourth consecutive defeat, the longest losing streak of the season. Defensive mistakes have been the story so far in this road trip, and they need to be limited to the minimum tonight.
There have also been some good news however, as former Coyote Viktor Tikhonov returns to the Valley of the Sun after six years, after Arizona claimed him off waivers from Chicago. While he did not join the team in Carolina, he will be with the Coyotes in St. Louis.
View from St.Louis
For the St. Louis perspective, visit St. Louis Game Time
The Blues have been experiencing some struggles of their own lately, having earned just one point in the last three games. What's even worse however is the fact that Steve Ott is now out for at least three months, after crashing badly into the boards against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
St. Louis still sits in the second place of the Central Division though. Much of the success can be accounted to the hot offensive duo of Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen, who both combine for a total of 48 points (26 and 22 respectively). In fact, Tarasenko's 15 goals are good for 3rd best in the league so far, only behind Jamie Benn and Patrick Kane.
Keys to the Game
- Great defense - That is exactly what has been missing from the Coyotes lately and the reason why the team has not won for the last four games. As much as Oliver Ekman-Larsson is loved by every Coyotes fan, he clearly needs to play better and avoid defensive mistakes. Michael Stone has also been playing very inconsistently so far, and tonight his good self is needed.
- Solid goaltending - While this has not been the main concern of the road trip so far, a team cannot allow 20 goals in four games and not hold the goalies accountable at all. Anders Lindback especially had a forgettable appearance against the Carolina Hurricanes, allowing 5 goals in just 18 shots.
- Consistency throughout the game - While Arizona has definitely improved in starting games more aggressively, there are now other moments when the team collapses. The Coyotes need to be focused and play hard for all 60 minutes tonight to get the win.
Players to Watch
Max Domi has been one of the few bright spots for Arizona in the road trip, scoring 2 goals and 1 assist. Tonight he will look to have another impressive performance, just like he did against Buffalo. Another Coyotes player to watch closely tonight is Nicklas Grossmann, who has arguably been the best defenseman lately and will try to continue that trend.
Tarasenko and Steen are the best offensive threats St. Louis has to offer, and they need to be contained in order to finally win again. The rookie Colton Parayko has also been a key player for the Blues, being the highest scoring defenseman of the team with 13 points (5 goals).
Shane Doan (lower-body injury) is still questionable for tonight, after being moved to the injured reserve list to make room for Viktor Tikhonov in the roster. Joe Vitale is still out with a fractured orbital bone.
The St. Louis Blues will miss Steve Ott (hamstring), Jaden Schwartz (ankle) and Patrik Berglund (shoulder).
The game begins at 6:00 PM Arizona time, and will be available to watch on Fox Sports Arizona or listen on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.