ST. LOUIS BLUES
vs. PHOENIX COYOTES
March 14th, 2013
St. Louis, Missouri
7:00 p.m. CST
TV: FOX Sports Midwest
Blues Lead Season Series at 1-0
Tonight marks the second of three matchups between these Western Conference foes. The Blues and Coyotes won’t wrap up their season series until April 18 when they meet again in St. Louis. It was only last week though that the Blues managed a big 6-3 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes and they will hope to do the same tonight at Scottrade. Last season the Blues took the series between the two managing a 3-1-0 record, but the Coyotes are a difficult team that will look to take advantage of a streaky Blues team.
ST. LOUIS BLUES
(14-10-2, 2nd in Central)
After a 2-3-0 road trip that saw the St. Louis Blues bounce around the Western Conference Standings, the Blues are looking to start a winning streak. Most recently the Blues played host to the San Jose Sharks in a game that saw the Blues put forth a solid effort to manage a 4-2 victory. The Blues look to continue that success tonight, but will be without the help of T.J. Oshie who is unlikely to play tonight after suffering a rib injury when attempting to lay a hit on Shark’s Brent Burns.
The St. Louis Blues have been on a bit of a roll, riding the wave of rookie goaltender Jake Allen. Allen’s 6-1-0 start ties a franchise record for the best start by a St. Louis Blues goaltender. Interestingly enough, the record was set last season by Brian Elliott who is now finding himself out of a job due to the excellent play of Jake Allen. Hopefully Allen will be able to maintain longer than Elliott so the Blues can have their goalie of the future, but don’t count out Jaroslav Halak just yet. Allen is still going to have to earn his spot as his numbers are not as great as his record.
Others to watch
Last time the Coyotes and Blues met, Chris Stewart had a huge night. Scoring a goal and three assists to help the blues best the Coyotes 6-3 was only part of the impressive stretch Stewart has been on. With four goals and nine points in his last five games, Stewart has been on fire when paired with Patrik Berglund and David Perron. The line seems to have a great deal of chemistry and has been scoring in bunches. Look for Stewart to get at least one point on the board tonight.
Alex Pietrangelo has been great as of late. While his defensive play has had some hiccups here and there, the defenseman has six points in his last five games and seems to be building a great deal of chemistry with Barrett Jackman. While Berglund and Stewart have gotten most of the attention lately, don’t overlook Petro just yet.
(13-10-3, 3rd in Pacific)
The Phoenix Coyotes are a team very similar to the Blues. With an almost identical record, the Coyotes are coming into Scottrade Center wanting revenge for last week’s defeat. The Coyotes come into St. Louis tonight after back to back wins against the Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings. Tonight’s matchup against the Blues begins a four game road stretch that will end with back-to-back games in Los Angeles. With the road trip being an important one for the Coyotes, look for them to find all of the weaknesses in the Blues game.
Shane Doan is busy showing the NHL why everyone was interested in him this offseason. With goals in his last three games and five of the last seven, Doan is officially hot. With a big body and offensive talent to boot, Doan is one of the few Coyotes with continued success against the St. Louis Blues. Look for Doan to throw his weight around again tonight.
Others to watch
Keith Yandle has five points in his last seven games and his defensive play has been great. With trade rumors surrounding him in the offseason, it doesn’t seem to have bothered Yandle. The defenseman has been solid all season and is sure to give the Blues trouble tonight in St. Louis.
The St. Louis Blues and Phoenix Coyotes both need a win tonight, but only the team willing to put in the full effort will come out on top. With the Blues hoping to ride on recent success, it is going to take a big effort to best the Coyotes. With the possibility of Alex Steen returning for the Blues tonight, the team will have to shuffle their lines and find a way to win in an always difficult Western Conference matchup. It should be a physical one tonight, so strap in and get ready for good old fashioned hockey.
The Blues have a couple of big question marks on their roster for tonight. T.J. Oshie is probably going to be sidelined with a rib injury, but could be back in time for the game tonight. Similarly, Alex Steen could be dressed for the Blues tonight as he hopes to return from a shoulder injury, but it will most likely be a game time decision. Andy McDonald is still battling a knee injury while Vladimir Tarasenko is slowly recovering from a concussion. Jamie Langenbrunner is the man on the sidelines this season due to hip surgery. The Phoenix Coyotes are facing their own injury woes and will be without Zbynek Michalek (ankle), Matthew Lombardi (lower body), David Schlemko (shoulder), and Radim Vrbata (foot).
Let’s hope the St. Louis Blues can bring home a win tonight. LET’S GO BLUES!