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GDT Game 42: Coyotes looking to break losing streak

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For the first time this season the Coyotes have lost their last three games in regulation. They look to rebound against the Stanley Cup Champions.

Arizona Coyotes v St Louis Blues Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images

Game Preview

Sunday’s game was a massive disappointment. The Arizona Coyotes had a 2-0 lead going into the third period, but the Dallas Stars were able to come from behind and score four goals. You can say what you want about the officiating, but at the end of the day, the Coyotes need to be better.

Despite the outcome, there were a lot of good elements of the Coyotes’ game. They were stellar the first half, including the first period where they outshot the Stars 22-5. Unfortunately, the Coyotes couldn’t keep that going throughout the game, and they were unable to adjust to the Stars’ physical play in the latter half of the game.

The Coyotes breakdown in the third period may not be the worst thing to happen in the game. Derek Stepan was limited to 7:14 and had to undergo the concussion protocol. Stepan hasn’t generated offensive as much this season, but he is a solid two-way center and is defensively responsible, something the Coyotes sorely need.

Sunday’s loss showed how much the Coyotes have been missing defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson. Hjalmarsson provides a steady defensive presence, something that the Coyotes have been missing lately.

With Sunday’s loss, the Coyotes have moved down in the Pacific Division standings. They are now tied with the Vancouver Canucks with 46 points, with the Canucks having played one fewer game. The Calgary Flames are only one point behind them and the Edmonton Oilers are only one point behind them.

It should come as no surprise that last year’s Stanley Cup winners are good this season. They have a comfortable lead in the Central Division, and only the Washington Capitals have more points than the St. Louis Blues’ 58.

The Blues enter tonight’s game having won their last eight games. And while three of those wins came from bottom-tier teams like the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, and Chicago Blackhawks, they have also beat the Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, and Winnipeg Jets.

A big part of the Blue’s success last season was goaltender Jordan Binnington who started in the AHL and went on to lead his team to win the Stanley Cup. This season he is proving that was no fluke, and in 29 games he has a .921 save percentage and 2.39 goals-against average.

Players to Watch

Arizona: Conor Garland - Garland had a huge game on Sunday despite the result. Garland had his fifth multi-point game of the season, scoring a goal and registering a primary assist on Taylor Hall’s goal to start the scoring.

St. Louis: Jaden Schwarz - Schwarz had two goals in the Blues’ last matchup and has a six-game point streak going. In those six games, he is 4-7-11 and he is currently on pace to finish with a career-high in assists and points.

Injuries

Arizona: Derek Stepan (questionable, concussion), Darcy Kuemper (lower body), Niklas Hjalmarsson (leg)

St. Louis: Carl Gunnarsson (arm), Sammy Blais (wrist), Vladimir Tarasenko (upper body)

Puck Drop

Tonight’s game will be at 7:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Fox Sports Arizona and Fox Sports 910 AM.