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Arizona Coyotes at St. Louis Blues
When and Where: Tuesday, March 12, Enterprise Center, St. Louis, Mo., 8 p.m. EST.
The St. Louis Blues have what amounts to a one-game layover between three game road-swings as they host the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night in a contest vital to both teams’ postseason chances.
Arizona gunning for first playoff appearance since 2012
The Coyotes (34-29-5) are trying to salvage a split of a crucial two-game road swing after being routed 7-1 by Chicago on Monday night as they continue to be part of a four-way battle for the two wild-card spots in the Western Conference.
When it’s not your night, it’s not your night.
We’re right back at it tomorrow night in St. Louis. pic.twitter.com/ijGTrsTpMZ
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 12, 2019
Arizona, which has not appeared in the playoffs since 2012, has recorded its most points since totaling 78 in 2015-16. It was just the second loss in their last 10 games and left them one point behind the Minnesota Wild for the final wild-card spot with 13 games remaining.
“We just had too many guys that had bad, like terrible nights,” coach Rick Tocchet told the Coyotes’ official website. “It’s on me, I didn’t get these guys prepared. I don’t know, maybe we should have done something differently yesterday (at practice), but I’m going to take the bullet on this one … Some guys were just, they weren’t ready to play.”
Arizona caught a break Monday night as fellow playoff contenders Minnesota and Colorado also lost in regulation. The Coyotes could also use some production from leading goal-scorer Alex Galchenyuk, who has gone without a point in five games. Galchenyuk, who has 15 goals, has not registered a point in either meeting versus the Blues and has not notched one in his last six games against them dating back to 2015.
The Coyotes are 4-4-0 playing on the back end of games on consecutive nights but snapped a four-game losing streak in the last such contest by beating Edmonton 3-2 in a shootout Feb. 19. Arizona has played seven of these eight games on the road, posting a 4-3-0 mark and winning two by shutout.
With Darcy Kuemper getting pulled in the second period Monday night after allowing four goals on 16 shots, it would not be surprising to see him make his 11th consecutive start. Kuemper turned aside 20 shots in last month’s 4-0 loss to the Blues and is 1-2-0 with a 3.33 goals-against average in three lifetime starts against them.
Blues look to adjust without Tarasenko in crucial stretch
St. Louis (36-25-7) entered play Monday night with a four-point lead for third place in the Central Division, but it feels like that cushion will be a challenge to maintain in the next week-plus.
The Blues will be without top goal-scorer Vladimir Tarasenko for at least the next 10 days due to an upper-body injury. Tarasenko, who has 28 goals, sat out Saturday night’s 3-2 overtime loss at San Jose as St. Louis capped a three-game swing through California with five of a possible six points.
Craig Berube: "It's unfortunate for the team and him, for sure. He'll recover and get back when he can. We've got guys who can do the job, you just have to keep going. Nothing you can do about it… We just have to keep plugging away." #stlblues https://t.co/JO1IFMlEMe
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) March 11, 2019
If the timeline is accurate, it rules out Tarasenko for St. Louis’ upcoming road swing against Eastern Conference opponents Ottawa, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo, and a home game against Edmonton on March 19. The earliest possible return would be March 21 versus the Detroit Red Wings.
Berube has made an interesting choice to replace Tarasenko on the top line, opting for 19-year-old rookie Robert Thomas to join Brayden Schenn and leading scorer Ryan O’Reilly. Thomas has seven goals and 25 points, but his only two goals in his last 19 games came at Anaheim in a 5-4 win Wednesday night.
Berube also confirmed Jordan Binnington will be in goal after Jake Allen stopped 58 of 61 shots in the final two legs of the road trip. Binnington has given up three or more goals in three of his last five starts after doing so just twice in his first 15. The 25-year-old, though, was perfect in his lone career start versus Arizona, stopping all 21 shots in a 4-0 road victory Feb. 14.
The Blues are:
- 7-1 in their last eight home games.
- 13-3 in their last 16 games as favorites.
- The favorites are 22-5 in the last 27 games between the teams.
- The under is 4-0 in their last four games as home favorites between -151 to -200.
- The under is 6-1 in their last seven games as favorites between -151 to -200.
- The under is 5-1 in their last six in the fourth game of a 4-in-6 situation.
The Coyotes are:
- 17-37 in their last 54 games playing on zero days’ rest.
- 1-5 in their last six road games vs. teams with an above-.500 home record.
- 1-6 in their last seven road games vs. the Blues.
- The under is 8-2-2 in their last 12 road games vs. the Blues.
- The under is 8-3 in their last 11 games as road underdogs between +110 to +150.
- The under is 6-0-1 in their last seven games as underdogs between +110 to +150.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
After salvaging a point in its first game without Tarasenko in San Jose, the Blues should be able to grab a win here against a Coyotes team playing on the back end of consecutive nights. The fact St. Louis is playing its lone home game in a 16-day span adds a little urgency to the situation for Berube’s team in addition to keeping the hold on a direct playoff spot.
Prediction: Pick: Blues -185
Full-Game Total Pick
Tarasenko’s absence helps give confidence in the under, coupled with the fact Binnington blanked Arizona last month. The fact the Blues goaltender needs a good outing ahead of this road swing given his form, and the expectation is Kuemper bounces back from his miserable outing in Chicago.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 5.5 goals
Full-Game Prop Bet
Taking the under as the pick for the game and Arizona in need of a bounce-back effort, the hedge here is the Coyotes go back to a simple road game in trying to slow down a Blues team without Tarasenko. With Arizona’s over/under a flat two goals, there is a feel of little value there, so the Blues and the under are the pick.
Prediction: Pick: Blues UNDER 3.5 goals
Half-Time Side Pick
Though the Coyotes allowed seven unanswered goals in the Windy City, they have at least been a productive first-period team offensively with nine goals in their last six opening periods. Conversely, they are facing a Blues team that has yielded seven goals in the opening stanza of its last five games. The expectation is a deadlock after one since St. Louis is still a net plus-13 in first-period scoring, so grabbing the Coyotes and the half-goal here is a solid play.
Prediction: Pick: Coyotes +0.5 goals (-155)
Half-Time Total Bet
This is based on recent trends than head-to-head, though the Blues did score twice in the first period in last month’s win. Both teams have given up seven first-period goals in their last 10 games, with both teams more porous of late. Arizona has given up five first-period goals in its last six contests, while St. Louis has been hit for seven in the last five.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 1.5 goals (-110)