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Arizona Coyotes vs St Louis Blues Preview: The Final Roadtrip

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The Coyotes embark on their final road trip of the season with a game against the St. Louis Blues.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The  Arizona Coyotes are coming off a high point winning their final game at home in front of a sold out crowd. Having been eliminated from the playoffs , tonight's game against the St Louis Blues is for pride and pride alone.

Matchup at a Glance

Arizona Coyotes

St Louis Blues

Points

77 (24th in the NHL)

103 (3rd in the NHL)

Goals For

202 (22nd)

211 (14th)

Goals Against

229 (26th)

189 (5th)

Power Play %

18.6 (18th)

21.7 (6th)

Penalty Kill %

77.9 (26th)

84.8 (3rd)

5v5 Corsi For*

46.9 (29th)

51.9 (7th)

PDO*

100.5 (10th)

100.5 (12th)

*Stats from Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com

View from Arizona

This past season the Coyotes have played better than most people would have thought at the beginning of the year.  While there are definitely still gaps that need to be filled in the coming seasons, the team that seemingly everyone predicted to finish last has actually put together some very solid games. In recent weeks they have a 3-1 win against the Central Division leading Dallas Stars, a 3-1 win against the playoff bound San Jose Sharks, and Saturday's 3-0 win against the Presidents' Trophy winning Washington Capitals. Despite also racking up a few losses, the wins give the fans hope, and confirm to management that although they still have a long way to go the rebuild is off to a good start.

Although they are coming off a win things don't look too easy for the Coyotes in the final stretch. Defenseman Michael Stone was injured in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers in which he had the game winning goal and is expected to miss a minimum of six months. Stone is a big piece for the Coyotes, he is second only to Oliver Ekman-Larsson in points from a defenseman and time on ice, and contributes on both the power play and the penalty kill. Stone being out does give another defenseman a chance to step up though, Anthony Grant has played two games this season and while he isn't getting much ice time he has been solid with few if any noticeable missteps.

View from St. Louis

For the St. Louis perspective, check out St Louis Game Time

St Louis has had a successful season, they've clinched a playoff spot this year and are two behind Dallas for the lead in the notoriously tough Central Division.  In their past 10 games they are 7-3-0 although that comes with some puzzling losses to noted bad teams the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers.  Both those losses had Jake Allen starting in net who is out for tonight's game with an undisclosed injury.  With the Blues looking to finally have success in the playoffs it doesn't bode well for them to have one half of their tandem out going into the playoffs.

Keys to the Game

Goaltending. For much of the game against the Capitals Mike Smith was the difference maker.  He made some excellent saves that kept the team in the game until the offense finally kicked in in the third period. Down the stretch it looks like the Yotes will be relying on their goaltending.

Avoid penalties. St. Louis have good special teams; they are top six on the penalty kill and with the man advantage.  While this means it will be difficult for the Desert Dogs to score on the power play, it also means that if you give the Blues too many opportunities they are likely to convert.

Start quick. The Coyotes have the advantage of being the fresher team with St Louis playing last night in Colorado.  If they can take advantage of that and score early they can dictate the play for the rest of the game and make the Blues play from behind.

Players to Watch

For the Yotes Max Domi has 4 assists in the last 3 games and is currently just one point behind Oliver Ekman-Larsson in points. If Domi manages to surpass OEL it will be the first time that a forward has the most points on the team since Ray Whitney during the 2011-2012 season.

Vladimir Tarasenko currently leads the Blues in goals and points with 36 and 69 respectively, along with points in his last five games.

Injury Report

Martin Hanzal is questionable tonight having missed the game against the Capitals with an upper body injury.  Michael Stone, Anders Lindback, and Joe Vitale are all out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, and Achilles injury, and concussion injuries respectively.  Jarred Tinordi is still suspended for violating the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.

Jake Allen, Robby Fabbri, Jay Bouwmeester, and Steve Ott are all questionable tonight for the Blues with an undisclosed injury, a leg injury, a concussion, and a torn hamstring respectively.

Puck Drop

Tonight's game will start at 5pm Arizona time and will be available on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and ESPN PHX 620 AM.