The Arizona Coyotes dropped their ninth straight last night, falling 2-0 to the Washington Capitals at home. It was a tough loss, but it easily could have been a blowout given how stacked the Washington Capitals are.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes’ offense struggling this season is nothing new, and things have gotten worse with injuries. The players that the Coyotes have come to rely on for goals, Clayton Keller, Lawson Crouse, and recently Nick Ritchie, have all missed time with injuries, and few Coyotes players can consistently score goals.
That’s not to say the Coyotes are entirely powerless. Jack McBain had a few good looks last night, and he either missed the net or elected to pass. McBain is looking for his first NHL goal, and some selfishness may be warranted tonight.
The biggest reason the Coyotes stayed in last night’s game was the stellar play of Karel Vejmelka, who had to come up big a few times last night.
With Vejmelka getting the tap last night, Harri Säteri seems the likely netminder for tonight’s game. Säteri has struggled since being claimed by the Coyotes, but he has had more practice time, so he will hopefully be in better form tonight.
The Blues have had the opposite April as the Coyotes. They have won nine of their last ten games, with their lone loss coming in overtime against the Boston Bruins.
Their recent success has allowed the Blues to secure their playoff spot. They are currently third in the Central Division but only two points behind the Minnesota Wild, so who knows who will get home ice for the playoffs.
Unlike the Capitals, who the Coyotes hadn’t seen since the start of the season, the Blues and Yotes faced off earlier this month. The game featured goals from four 20+ goal scorers, including a power play goal from Brayden Schenn and a short-handed goal from Pavel Buchnevich.
The last time these two teams met, four of the five Blues’ goals came during the second period. It’s been a problem all season, but if the Coyotes are going to have a chance tonight, they will need to find some way to avoid the second-period collapse.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Nick Schmaltz - With injury after injury piling up, Schmaltz is probably the Coyotes’ best player on any given night. He had the Coyotes’ lone goal the last time they played the Blues and had a two-assist night against the Chicago Blackhawks.
St. Louis: Vladimir Tarasenko - The Blues have a ton of weapons, and Tarasenko is definitely one of the most dangerous ones. Tarasenko had two goals the last time these two teams met and comes into tonight’s game riding an eight-game point streak that has seen him notch 18 points.
Arizona: Nick Ritchie (questionable, upper body), Jay Beagle (questionable, lower body), Dysin Mayo (questionable, upper body), Clayton Keller (leg), Lawson Crouse (hand), Christian Fischer (lower body), Jakob Chychrun (ankle), Liam O’Brien (upper body), Dmitrij Jaškin (lower body), Conor Timmins (knee)
St. Louis: Alexei Toropchenko (questionable, leg), MacKenzie MacEachern (upper body), Tyler Bozak (lower body), Scott Perunovich (wrist)
Tonight’s game will be at Gila River Arena at 7:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Bally Sports Arizona Extra and 92.3 FM.