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GDT: Coyotes face off against battered Blues

The Arizona Coyotes look to extend their win streak against an injured and under performing St Louis Blues

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Arizona Coyotes Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview

A week ago it seemed like the sky was falling. The team had lost four games in a row and the offense was just not there. To make matters worse the defense had more holes then Swiss cheese and both the team’s goaltenders were out with injuries. The outlook was bleak, and with the team heading out on a two game road trip against two good teams you wouldn’t be wrong to expect things to get worse. But oh how things have changed in a week.

After a shakey win against the Minnesota Wild, the Coyotes put on a show against the Nashville Predators. The win against Minnesota was due to secondary scoring, with goals from Lawson Crouse, Josh Archibald, and Michael Grabner. Contrast that with the 3-0 win against the Predators where the Coyotes got goals from key players like Clayton Keller and the newly acquired Nick Schmaltz. Brad Richardson also scored his 7th goal of the season and is on pace for a career high goals scored. Schmaltz’s goal was a power play goal, and the team acquired him so he could make plays like this:

Adin Hill also managed his first NHL shutout in only his seventh NHL game played in. There is still a lot of reasons to be concerned with the team, and they are far too inconsistent, but the past two wins are reasons to hope that the team can turn things around.

Historically the Blues have been a good regular season team that couldn’t find success in the playoffs. This season not so much. The Blues are in last place in the surprisingly weak Central Division with only 21 points. That’s not to say the Coyotes should expect an easy win, they are coming off an overtime win against the Colorado Avalanche a week removed from a 6-2 win against the Nashville Predators.

The Blues used to be associated with solid defense, but they are not that team this year. With 79 goals allowed they are in a three-way time for nineteenth in the league. They aren’t scoring much either, and are in the bottom half of the league with 73 goals. Former Coyote Chad Johnson and Jake Allen have been having off seasons, both with goals against averages over 3.00 and save percentages .895 and .896 respectably.

Despite the struggles the Blues have been getting stand out performances from their special team units. Their power play converts 24.4% of the time, and their penalty kill percentage is 81.3%, both ninth in the league.

Players to Watch

Arizona: Adin Hill - The Nashville Predators game was the Adin Hill show. He is still expected to be the Coyotes goalie of the future, and while he still needs some time to develop its good to see he isn’t completely outmatched in the NHL.

St Louis: Ryan O’Reilly - After being traded in the offseason for Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Sobotka, and Tage Thompson, and a first and second round pick the expectation was that O’Reilly would make the Blues a better team. While the Blues aren’t a better team O’Reilly has done his part scoring 12 goals including 2 in the past four games.

Injuries

Arizona: Jordan Oesterle (questionable, undisclosed), Antti Raanta (questionable, lower body), Darcy Kuemper (lower body), Jason Demers (knee), Christian Dvorak (pectoral)

St Louis: Robert Bortuzzo (probable, lower body), Alexander Steen (questionable, upper body), Alex Pietrangelo (questionable, hand), Carl Gunnarsson (upper body), Erik Foley (concussion), Jaden Schwartz (upper body)

Poll

Poll

Its been 8 games since Alex Galchenyuk scored. Can he net a goal tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    Yes
    (13 votes)
  • 16%
    No
    (3 votes)
  • 11%
    Yes, but something weird happens to take the goal away
    (2 votes)
18 votes total Vote Now