The Arizona Coyotes fell 4-3 in overtime last night against the Chicago Blackhawks, but they don’t have any time to dwell on it. They play again tonight, facing off against the St. Louis Blues in the second game of a three-game road trip.
Things started off great for the Coyotes last night, with Clayton Keller getting his 19th of the season just 88 seconds into regulation. It got even better when Nick Schmaltz doubled the Yotes’ lead 11 minutes later with his 12th of the year. For a team like the Coyotes, who struggle to start on time and generate offense, two goals were a pleasant change of pace.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes couldn’t keep it going and ended up giving up three unanswered goals. A late goal from Nick Bjugstad would tie things up, but the Chicago Blackhawks would win it in overtime with a goal from Caleb Jones.
The start was as good as you can expect from the Desert Dogs this season, but they didn’t have the same level of urgency the rest of the game.
The Arizona Coyotes played the St. Louis Blues a few weeks ago, but they will play a different team tonight. The St. Louis Blues made the first big trade of the season, shipping Vladimir Tarasenko to the New York Rangers for Sammy Blais, Hunter Skinner, a conditional 2023 first-round pick, and a conditional 2024 fourth-round pick.
It was probably the right move for the Blues, who are currently nine points out of a playoff position and unlikely to make up that ground. Moreover, St. Louis is currently riding a five-game losing streak, and even if they kept Tarasenko, their luck wasn’t about to change overnight.
But don’t expect the Blues to be a pushover tonight. They will be an extremely well-rested team, having not played since Monday, January 30th.
And you can’t underestimate what trading Tarasenko means to the lineup. Sure, they will be down one of their better players, but that presents an opportunity for someone else to step up. We have seen this over and over with the Coyotes. Someone needs to play those minutes and expect players to be hungry to show they deserve it.
The last time these two teams met, the Coyotes walked away the victor in a 5-0 win that saw Nick Schmaltz score a hat-trick. It was a slow start that saw no goals in the first half but five in the final 30 minutes. Tonight could be another lopsided affair, but I am anticipating a closer game.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Clayton Keller - Keller is off to a hot start, and he always plays his best against his old hometown team. He had a goal and two assists against the Chicago Blackhawks and an assist in the Yotes’ previous game against the Minnesota Wild.
St. Louis: Jake Neighbours - Neighbours is playing in his second season with the Blues and is having the best year of his career. He had a goal and an assist in the Blues’ last game against the Winnipeg Jets.
Arizona: Shayne Gostisbehere (upper body), Bryan Little (ear), Andrew Ladd (knee)
St. Louis: Robert Thomas (questionable, lower body), Pavel Buchnevich (ankle), Ryan O’Reilly (foot), Scott Perunovich (shoulder), Marco Scandella (hip)
Tonight’s game will be at 6:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Bally Sports Arizona and 98.7 FM.