NHL Game Summary - Phoenix at St. Louis
(Friday, April 6th)
Final Score: Phoenix 4, St. Louis 1
St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Mike Smith had his bid for a fourth consecutive shutout halted in the first period, but the Phoenix netminder came up with 31 saves to backstop the Coyotes to a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues on Friday at Scottrade Center.
Mikkel Boedker scored and added an assist, while Keith Yandle, Radim Vrbata and Shane Doan lit the lamp. Antoine Vermette added a pair of helpers for the Coyotes, who have won four consecutive games.
With the victory, the Coyotes jumped to first place in the Pacific Division with 95 points and occupy the third seed in the Western Conference with one game remaining in the regular season on Saturday against the Minnesota Wild.
"It's a division title, but more importantly it's home ice in the playoffs," Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said. "We've been talking about it a long time; we want to build to be a good playoff team. You can give yourself every advantage you can, whether it be home ice or what ever advantage you can find out of it. We put ourselves in position to do that tomorrow night depending on what happens in some other games."
Phoenix sits just one point ahead of both Los Angeles and San Jose, who play against each other on Saturday, for the top spot in the division.
Patrik Berglund lit the lamp for the Blues, who have dropped four consecutive games. Brian Elliott was tagged for all four goals on 32 shots. The Blues, who are the second seed in the Western Conference, will close out their regular- season docket on Saturday against the Dallas Stars.
Phoenix opened the scoring just 2:13 into the game when Yandle collected a loose puck in the high slot and fired a slap shot through traffic and just under the crossbar to give Phoenix the early lead.
The Blues tied the game at 14:26 of the first period when Andy McDonald corralled a loose disc in the neutral zone and sped up the ice on a 3-on-2. McDonald sent a left wing feed to T.J. Oshie, who fired a quick wrist shot on net that was stopped by Smith, but he left the rebound right out in front and Berglund easily tapped it home.
The Coyotes kept the pressure on and closed out the game with three unanswered goals.
Vrbata gave the Coyotes the lead for good 5:44 into the second period when he accepted a drop pass from Ray Whitney and ripped a quick wrist shot past Elliott, and Doan found the back of the net just 2:10 later when he wristed one past Elliott from in close off a centering feed from Vermette to put Phoenix up, 3-1, after two periods.
Phoenix capped the scoring midway though the final frame when Boedker picked up the loose puck off a blocked shot and headed up the ice in transition. He cut across ice and fired a deceptive wrist shot past Elliot from the left circle.
"This is what happens when you play with skill ahead of work," Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said. "This is what happens when you don't want to put your work boots in and the other team doesn't want to have anything to do with it. They pushed us out of the game competitively wise."
Smith's shutout streak was snapped at 234 minutes, 55 seconds...Smith improved to 19-5-2 when getting at least two days off between starts...It was Yandle's 11th goal of season...The Coyotes improved to 6-4-3 in the first leg of back- to-back situations...St. Louis failed to score with seven power-play opportunities, while Phoenix was 0-for-6 with the man advantage.
04/06 23:29:58 ET