Preview: Coyotes at Blues
The St. Louis Blues were finally rewarded for a well-played game and try for back-to-back victories for the first time since mid-January when they host the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. "It was good for the confidence,'' St. Louis defenseman Carl Gunnarsson told reporters after the Blues' 3-0 victory over New Jersey on Tuesday snapped a five-game slide (0-3-2). "It's tough to keep playing well and not getting points, which at this time of year is real important."
St. Louis had a sizable lead in the Central Division before a 3-7-3 stretch brought it back to the pack and into a tie for the top spot with Dallas as Colorado sits in third place one point behind. Arizona had its first winning streak since early January snapped at two with a 3-2 loss at Dallas on Wednesday. The Coyotes are tied for fourth in the Pacific Division - three points out of first place - and hold a wild-card position despite going 5-9-4 in their last 18 games. Arizona prevailed 3-1 on Dec. 31 for its third straight victory over the Blues behind 38 saves by Antti Raanta.
TIME: 8 p.m. ET. TV: FS Arizona, FS Midwest
ABOUT THE COYOTES (30-25-8): Nick Schmaltz recorded 32 of his team-high 41 points in his first 41 games but only nine in his past 21 contests after recording an assist Wednesday. Taylor Hall has nine goals in 28 games since he was acquired from New Jersey after scoring versus Dallas - his second in the last 12 contests. Raanta, who is 4-1-2 with a 1.96 goals-against average and .940 save percentage against the Blues, is expected in goal Thursday after Adin Hill made 30 saves versus Dallas.
ABOUT THE BLUES (33-17-10): Jaden Schwartz on Tuesday scored for the second time in three games and has 19 this season - one shy of his fourth 20-goal campaign. David Perron paces the club with 23 goals but hasn't scored in his last eight contests. Ivan Barbashev on Tuesday recorded his second career two-goal game with both coming against New Jersey and has 24 points this season - two shy of his career high set in 2018-19.
1. St. Louis D Marco Scandella, who was acquired from Montreal on Tuesday, is expected to make his club debut.
2. Arizona killed 18-of-18 penalties over its previous five games before allowing two power-play goals Wednesday.
3. Blues G Jordan Binnington has seven shutouts in 76 career games.
PREDICTION: Blues 3, Coyotes 2