NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, March 25th
(All times Eastern)
St. Louis Blues (46-20-9) at Phoenix Coyotes (37-26-13), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Coyotes will try to open an important four-game
homestand with a victory, as they welcome the Western Conference-leading St.
Louis Blues for tonight's battle at Jobing.com Arena.
The playoff-hopeful Coyotes have been scuffling for points in recent weeks,
going 4-1-4 while alternating losses and wins over their last nine games.
Phoenix enters today as the seventh seed in the West, but is just one point
ahead of Los Angeles, San Jose and Colorado, who are all off on Sunday.
The Coyotes are also tied with Dallas for first place in the Pacific Division.
The Stars, who already have a game in hand over Phoenix, are also idle today.
In addition to tonight's test against the Blues, Phoenix will host San Jose,
Anaheim and Columbus during its four-game residency. The Coyotes, who will
close the regular season with tests in St. Louis and Minnesota, are 19-12-6 as
the host this year.
The Coyotes earned one point on Saturday, losing a shootout decision in San
Jose. Michal Handzus scored in the first round of the shootout and Ryane Clowe
sealed the 4-3 victory with a goal in the second round.
Daymond Langkow, Derek Morris and Lauri Korpikoski lit the lamp in regulation
for Phoenix, while Mike Smith stopped 29 shots in defeat.
"It's unfortunate we couldn't get the two points," Coyotes head coach Dave
Tippett said. "I thought our guys competed hard and we found a way to get a
Phoenix captain Shane Doan will serve the final portion of a three-game
suspension tonight. Doan was given the ban for an elbow to the head of Dallas
forward Jamie Benn.
The Blues have already clinched a playoff spot, but Ken Hitchcock would still
like his club to avoid its fifth loss in six games tonight. St. Louis, which
leads the Central Division and Western Conference and is tied for the NHL lead
with the New York Rangers at 101 points, is just 1-2-2 over its last five
Despite the slump, the Blues still hold a six-point lead over Detroit for
first place in the Central with seven games left for both teams. St. Louis is
just two points in front of Vancouver for the conference lead. Both the Red
Wings and Canucks are off on Sunday.
St. Louis lost a 1-0 shootout decision in Los Angeles on Thursday, dropping
the Blues to 2-2-2 on a seven-game road trip that ends tonight. The Blues are
just 17-16-5 as the road team this year compared to a stellar 29-4-4 home
record. St. Louis will play four of its next five games at home.
The Kings won Thursday's game on Jeff Carter's game-winner in the fourth round
of the shootout. Carter raced down the center of the ice and made a quick fake
in the slot before slipping a shot in between the legs of Brian Elliott. Chris
Stewart had a chance to keep the Blues alive, but his backhander hit the
outside of the left post.
Elliott made 37 saves for his seventh shutout of the year. Elliott and
teammate Jaroslav Halak have combined for a team-record tying 13 shutouts on
"It's tough not getting a goal but we did get a point. We played a good team
game tonight and [Quick] made some big saves at the other end," said Elliott.
Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo suffered an injury to his lower back on
Thursday and is questionable for tonight's test.
St. Louis is 2-0 against the Coyotes this season and has won five of eight
overall in this series. Phoenix has taken three of the last five meetings in
03/25 10:49:53 ET