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Coyotes, Blues meet in St. Louis

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Coyotes are set to take on the best team in the Western Conference tonight.

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes are ready to tell the St. Louis Blues to “meet me in St. Louis”, specifically at the Scottrade Center tonight.

Coyotes V Blues Stats

Stats Arizona Coyotes St. Louis Blues
Stats Arizona Coyotes St. Louis Blues
Points 6 (8th in Pacific) 25 (1st in Central)
Goals For 41 (24th) 52 (6th)
Goals Against 68 (31st) 37 (6th)
Power Play 14.8 (25th) 16.7 (22nd)
Penalty Kill 75.0 (28th) 80.0 (19th)
5v5 Corsi For % 48.06 (23rd) 51.36 (10th)
Shooting % 7.5 (T-21th) 8.9 (11th)
PDO 97.9 (27th) 102.9 (2nd)

View From St. Louis

For more information on the Blues and their preview go to St. Louis Game Time

Currently the Blues are sitting in 1st place of the Central Division with only the Winnipeg Jets and the Nashville Predators giving them any semblance of competition. Even that isn’t much of a contest for the soaring Blues as their closest rivals are 6 and 7 points behind, respectively. Of course the season is still young and anything can happen in the coming months, including regression of their combined shooting and save percentage (a.k.a. PDO) of 102.9.

Now the Blues are returning home triumphant on their one game road trip where they beat the New Jersey Devils 3-1, improving their record to 12-3-1 for the season. Although they are a perennial playoff team, the hot start that the Blues are currently riding is a bit of surprise. After losing four players to long term off-season and training camp injuries, no one expected the team to play this well. In fact, no one is really even talking about how well the Blues are playing.

View From Arizona

After being beat out of the gate by the reigning back-to-back Stanley Cup champions the Coyotes need to come out strong against the Blues. More importantly they need to stay strong against the Blues the whole game. To date, the team hasn’t put together a full 60 minute effort and one will certainly be needed to go toe-to-toe with the leader of the Western Conference.

In addition to giving a full effort, the Coyotes also need to return to their disciplined ways. In both games against the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins, there was a parade to the penalty box that cannot continue. In both games the other teams were eventually able to capitalize on the man advantage and since the Coyotes only lost by 1 and 2 goals gifting those opportunities is a bad idea.

Three Questions

Will someone who is not on the top line score?

Most of the points so far have been generated by the first line. Secondary scoring would be nice from the rest of the forward group.

Can the team stay out of the box?

Prior to this road trip, the Coyotes had the second lowest number of penalties taken in the league. Since it started they’ve taken a total of 13 penalties and dropped to 8th lowest in the number of penalties taken. STAY OUT OF THE BOX!

Will the team find a way to take home more than 1 point on this road trip?

Getting a point against the Capitals was great. Unfortunately the Blues might just be a much tougher opponent this season than the Caps, which means it’s going to take something special to get any points from them at all.

Players to Watch

Arizona: Antti Raanta, the likely starting goaltender is probably going to need to be very sharp, very early if the team is going to have a chance at winning.

St Louis: Brayden Schenn his line with Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz has been the most productive for the Blues. Also the last time the Coyotes saw Luke Schenn ’s little brother, the younger Schenn and Jakob Chychrun ended up fighting.

Injury Report

Arizona:

Niklas Hjalmarsson is still out with an upper-body and per Tocchet will not play on this trip.

Jakob Chychrun continues to rehab his knee injury and is not on the trip.

St. Louis:

Robby Fabbri - (lower body) Fabbri underwent knee surgery after suffering an ACL injury last February and had to have another surgery after re-injuring the knee in training camp.

Zach Sanford - (upper body) Sanford needed surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder that he suffered in training camp and is expected to be sidelined until at least early-February.

Patrik Berglund - (upper body) Berglund dislocated his shoulder during an offseason training program and needed at least five months to recover.

Jay Bouwmeester - (lower body) Bouwmeester, who is entering his sixth season with the Blues will be sidelined with a left ankle fracture that he suffered in training camp.

Puck Drop

You can catch the game at 6 p.m. Arizona time on Fox Sports Arizona and on the Fox Sports Go App. You can hear the game on the radio on ESPN 620.