NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, February 24th
(All times eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (27-28-5) at St. Louis Blues (25-26-8), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Olli Jokinen broke out of his scoring slump in a big way
last time out. The only question now is if he will get a chance to help the
Phoenix Coyotes end their postseason drought.
The subject of trade rumors heading into next week's deadline, Jokinen will
try to lead his club to another win tonight, when Phoenix visits the St. Louis
Blues at Scottrade Center.
The Coyotes haven't been to the postseason since 2001-02 and seemed to address
their goaltending issues when they acquired Ilya Bryzgalov early last year.
Phoenix then looked to take another step towards a postseason berth by
acquiring Jokinen in the offseason via a trade with the Florida Panthers.
Jokinen has been a steady presence offensively for Phoenix, but after notching
his 17th goal of the season versus Detroit on January 20, he went 11 games
without scoring. The 30-year-old finally broke through on Saturday, posting
his first hat trick of the season and fifth of his career in Saturday's 6-3
win over the Los Angeles Kings.
Jokinen reached 20 goals for the sixth straight season and now has 40 points
on the campaign. However, with Phoenix still having lost nine of its last 12
contests and currently five points out of a playoff spot in the tight Western
Conference, rumors have begun to surface that Jokinen could be dealt prior to
next Thursday's trade deadline. The Coyotes will play three more times prior
to that event.
David Hale, Viktor Tikhonov and Mikkel Boedker also lit the lamp on Saturday
for the Coyotes, who have won two in a row after losing three straight.
Bryzgalov stopped 30-of-33 shots to earn his 20th win of the season.
Phoenix's win on Saturday was just its second in its last six road games and
the club is 10-16-3 as the visiting team this year.
With 58 points, the Blues trail the Coyotes by just a point in the Western
standings and are coming off a disappointing 1-0 overtime loss to Nashville on
Saturday. Chris Mason, who spent parts of six seasons with the Predators, made
21 saves in the tough-luck loss.
St. Louis, which hasn't been to the postseason since 2003-04, is 15-11-5 at
home this year.
Yan Stastny could return to the Blues' lineup tonight after being recalled
from a conditioning stint with Peoria of the American Hockey League on Monday.
Stastny has three goals and four assists in 34 games this year and hasn't
played since January 11 due to an upper-body injury.
The Blues lost all four of their games against the Coyotes last year in
regulation, but snapped that slide with a 4-3 home win on December 6 of this
season. That win at Scottrade Center also halted St. Louis' six-game series
home losing streak.
Phoenix has still won nine of its last 11 versus St. Louis overall and is 7-3
with a tie in its last 11 trips to the Gateway City.
02/24 11:05:55 ET