After playing against one of the best teams in the NHL in the Washington Capitals, the Arizona Coyotes are back in action against the team that currently holds the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. These two teams played for the first time this season only nine days ago, where the St. Louis Blues won 3-0.
View from Arizona
The Coyotes are coming off a tough loss to the Washington Capitals which saw them completely fall apart in the final five minutes of the game. A loss to the team currently at the top of the NHL standings alone wouldn’t be so bad, but the way this loss happened was different. The Coyotes only managed three shots in the first period and let the Capitals score three goals after tying the game late in the third.
The Coyotes offense seems to be up and down lately, although mostly down. They scored five goals against the New Jersey Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning but they scored one goal or less against the Colorado Avalanche, St Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, Florida Panthers, and Capitals. The Coyotes won only one of those games, a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. It may be cliché but you can’t win if you don’t score, and the Coyotes need to score more if they want to win.
View from St Louis
For more on the St. Louis Blues, check out St. Louis Game Time
The last time that these two teams met the Blues had a very good chance of not making the playoffs in the final Wild Card spot. As of today, that spot is pretty much a lock, with the Los Angeles Kings being the closest and behind by nine points. It would take a serious implosion for the Blues to miss the playoffs this year, although it would be tough to say that is the spot they were hoping for going into this season.
It’s no question that a team wants to have a strong March; it gives them momentum going into the playoffs and can help secure a playoff spot, and the Blues are having a very strong March. After a 3-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets to start the month they are 9-2-1. The Blues are probably hoping that trench continues, the potential to move up a spot and face an easier first round appointment for the playoffs on the line.
1. Will the Coyotes be able to score? The last time these two teams met the Blues shutout the Yotes 3-0. The Coyotes have been having difficulties scoring this month, and it remains to be seen if things will be different the second time these teams meet.
2. So how about them young guys? The youth have definitely been the story late in the season and it has been giving Coyotes fans a lot of hope for the future. Here’s hoping that trend continues for the rest of the season.
3. What will happen in Clayton Keller’s first game? Putting high expectations on an 18 year old in his first NHL game is probably a recipe for disappointment but hopefully there will be at least a flash of good things to come?
Players to Watch
Arizona – Clayton Keller - Keller hasn’t played a single NHL game and will likely be the player to watch for the rest of the season. He had a great college season and earned his spot on an NHL roster, and should bring a skill to the Coyotes for years to come.
St Louis – Vladimir Tarasenko - Tarasenko has 34 goals and 31 assists this season and currently leads the Blues in both of those stats this season. At only 25 he is already one of the best players in the NHL.
Arizona – For the Desert Dogs Shane Doan will miss his fifth game with a lower body injury, and Kevin Connauton, Alexander Burmistrov, and Brad Richardson continue to be out indefinitely with an upper body, concussion, and leg injuries respectively.
St Louis - Paul Stastny, Dmitrij Jaskin, Jori Lehtera, and Robby Fabbri are all out indefinitely or for at least for the rest of the season in the case of Fabbri, with lower body, shoulder, concussion, and knee injuries respectively.
Tonight’s game will be at 5 pm Arizona time and will be airing on Fox Sports Arizona and on the radio on ESPN Phoenix 620AM.