Arizona Coyotes (2-13-2-0 SU, 6-11 PL, 11-5-1 O/U) vs. St. Louis Blues (12-3-1-0 SU, 12-4 PL, 8-8 O/U)
NHL: Thursday, November 9, 2017, Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri, 8 pm ET
Lines: St. Louis -240, Arizona +210; Over/Under: 5.5
It’s a contest between teams at opposite ends of the Western Conference standings on the ice in the Gateway City. The Arizona Coyotes are on the road trying to put their struggles behind them as they face the St. Louis Blues Thursday night. Arizona lost their second straight, fourth in the last five games and eighth in the last 10 with a 3-1 road loss in Pittsburgh Tuesday night. St. Louis won its second straight and sixth in the last seven with a 3-1 road win over New Jersey Tuesday. The Blues have won each of the last 10 meetings, including all three last season.
Arizona Coyotes Reeling in First Quarter of Season
Arizona’s opening 17 games of the season have been an unmitigated train wreck. The team has just two wins, which is the fewest in the league: the next fewest is Florida with four. Arizona is 12 points behind Vancouver for third in the Pacific Division and has four points less than any other team in the league. Arizona is near the bottom of the pack offensively as they are 29th with an average of 2.4 goals per game. The Coyotes don’t keep the puck out of their own net as they are last in the league by allowing four goals a night. Arizona is 25th on the power play (15.8 percent) this season. The Coyotes stand only 28th in penalty killing as they successfully kill off just 75 percent of their shorthanded situations.
The Coyotes’ latest loss was over just past the three minute mark of the opening period. By the time 3:07 had elapsed, Arizona was in a 2-0 hole they couldn’t dig out of. The Coyotes were outshot 12-8 in the first period and trailed 2-0 after the opening 20 minutes. The second period wasn’t any better for Arizona as they were outshot 15-7 but neither team was able to light the lamp, leaving the score 2-0 Pittsburgh after 40 minutes. In the third period, the shots were even at 10-10 but the scoring was even as well as each team scored once. Tobias Rieder made it a 2-1 game with his third of the season at the 26 second mark of the third period. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Christian Fischer drew the assists on the goal. That was as close as the Coyotes would get: with Kevin Connauton off for high sticking, the Penguins added a power play goal to make it 3-1 and close the scoring. Antti Raanta made 34 saves in the loss for Arizona as the Coyotes were outshot 37-25.
St. Louis Blues Look to Keep Hitting Right Notes
St. Louis has gone the opposite way of the Coyotes. They’ve won two straight and six of their last seven games. The Blues entered Wednesday with the best record in the league and a six point edge over Winnipeg in the Central Division race. St. Louis enters this game 11th in the league in goals per game with 3.3 and 3rd in goals against as they allow 2.3 goals per contest. The Blues are 22nd in power play percentage as they cash in 16.7 percent of their chances with the man advantage. St. Louis is 18th in the league on the penalty kill as they successfully kill off 80 percent of their shorthanded situations.
The Blues rallied from a slow start to get the win over the Devils and solidify their hold in the Central Division. St. Louis outshot New Jersey 10-9 in the opening period but skated off facing a 1-0 deficit. The second period saw the Blues hold an 11-9 edge in shots but more importantly, they scored the lone goal of the period to tie the game after 40 minutes. Vladimir Tarasenko scored his eighth of the year at 18:57 off an assist from Brayden Schenn to knot things up. St. Louis dominated play in the third period, holding a 19-4 edge in shots and scoring twice to pick up the win. Just 32 seconds into the period, Jaden Schwartz tallied his ninth of the year, on the power play, to make it a 2-1 lead for St. Louis. Schenn and Tarasenko assisted on the marker. Schenn scored his fourth of the year into an empty net at 19:03 on an assist from Tarasenko. Jake Allen made 21 stops for the Blues, who outshot the Devils 39-22 in the game.
- Coyotes are 0-4 in their last 4 in the third game of a 3-in-4 situation
- Blues are 8-1 in their last 9 home games
- Blues are 6-1 in their last 7 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game
- Blues are 5-1 in their last 6 vs. Western Conference
This one screams mismatch on paper. Arizona has been atrocious regardless of who they play and where they play this season. The Coyotes are 1-8-1 on the road this season and they face the top team in the league, who just happens to be on a roll. St. Louis has won six of seven and you know they have to be foaming at the mouth to face an Arizona team giving up four goals a game. Look for the Blues to have an easy time here as they make it seven wins in their last eight games.