NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, March 22nd (All times eastern)
St. Louis Blues (32-31-9) at Phoenix Coyotes (39-24-11), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Playing seven of their final nine games at home should work in the Coyotes' favor, but what head coach Dave Tippett feels was a questionable call prevented them from starting that span with a victory.
After having a five-game winning streak halted over the weekend, Phoenix will look to rebound tonight versus the fading St. Louis Blues at Jobing.com Arena.
The Coyotes opened a six-game homestand on Sunday against the defending Stanley Cup-champion Blackhawks, but ended up on the wrong end of a 2-1 decision after Chicago's Chris Campoli scored a power-play goal in the third period. The game-winner came with Shane Doan in the box for holding midway through the frame.
Tippett didn't like the call in such a meaningful game for both teams.
"I've watched it about 20 times," Tippett said. "Just finished watching it just as I walked in the door here. I don't understand it. I don't understand it at all. To me there's no hold whatsoever there. It's disappointing that a call can have an impact like that in a very competitive game in a very tight playoff race."
Eric Belanger scored and Ilya Bryzgalov ended with 26 saves for the Coyotes, who had been 6-0-1 in their previous seven games and sit fourth overall in the Western Conference, just one ahead of the Kings.
Phoenix also trails San Jose by three points for first place in the Pacific Division and though it has played one more game than the Sharks, the two clubs will meet three more times this season. That includes a visit from the Sharks on Saturday as part of this homestand.
First, the Coyotes will deal with a Blues club that has lost three of its last four and sits 13th in the West with 73 points. St. Louis is 12 back of a playoff spot with 10 games to play, but would also have to leap past five clubs to get into the eighth spot.
St. Louis fell behind early to San Jose on Saturday and never recovered in a 5-3 loss. Jaroslav Halak was pulled after yielding three goals on 10 shots to open the game, while Ty Conklin made 22 saves in relief.
"They've found their game. They've got really good balance through their lineup," Blues head coach Davis Payne said of the Sharks.
T.J. Hensick scored his first goal since Nov. 8 of last season, while David Backes and Andy McDonald also scored.
The Blues fell to 1-2 on a four-game road trip, but could have center Philip McRae back on the ice for the swing's finale. McRae has been out since Feb. 25 because of a lower-body injury.
The Coyotes have won two of three versus the Blues this year, including a 5-3 victory when the clubs last met in Phoenix way back on Nov. 13. Ray Whitney netted a hat trick and had five points in the 5-3 triumph.
Bryzgalov is 5-8-1 with a 3.03 goals-against average lifetime versus the Blues, while Halak has split two starts against the Coyotes with a 3.52 GAA.
03/22 10:51:27 ET