As I was telling a good friend last night, the most important part of being on a hot streak is knowing when it's over. Who knows how long this run will go, but in the meantime we need to make the most of it - both in terms of points and also in terms of joy. When good things happen, don't spoil it by asking "do I deserve this?" ... just go out and enjoy it while you can (see also: former Coyote and All Star of Life John Scott). While the Blues definitely need to address their scoring woes, there is no shame in celebrating this winning streak.
A lot of Blues fans were wondering how much of an impact the return of Jaden Schwartz would have on the team. In his 4 games so far, he has 3 goals and an assist, the most recent goal being the OT Game-winner against LA. So, yeah, you could say he's helping. From the official game notes:
Since the beginning of 2014-15, Schwartz has missed 56 regular season games. During his absence, the Blues have posted a 26-20-10 record, a 2.30 goals per game average and a -9 goal differential. Compare that with his presence, when the team has logged a 59-21-6 mark, a 2.95 (254) goals per game average and a robust +59 goal differential.
Also, the Blues have done remarkably well in the absence of Alex Pietrangelo. When he went down with a knee injury against the Wild, Petro was 4th in the league for minutes played. This was going to provide opportunities for other D-men on the power play, and the 5-on-5 minutes could be spread out over the entire defensive corps. The real question mark was over who could fill his shorthanded minutes. The Blues have been able to solve that by committee as well, and (seemingly) not missed a beat. For the year, the Blue have spent the second-most time shorthanded, but they also rank 1st overall in Penalty Kills, with an 87% success rate. Since Alex went on IR, the Blues have killed 23 of 24 opponent power plays. Nonetheless, any lead the Blues have they can give it away by taking too many penalties.
As for the Coyotes, they are fighting for a playoff spot. They are only 4 points behind the twin totals of Colorado and Nashville for a Wild Card slot. They've been on the track to higher ground, winning the previous two games on this homestand. While they are on the outside looking in, they are good enough to turn things around in one hot minute. The line of Martin Hanzal (2G, 4A) and rookies Max Domi (2G,2A) and Anthony Duclair (1G, 4A) has been as hot as any in the league during this homestand. If the Blues can't stop them, it will make for a long night. As these youngsters develop and stud blueliner Oliver Eckman-Larsson continues being one of the best in the NHL, the Coyotes will be a force to be reckoned with - someday.
Arizona's IR list includes goalies Mike Smith and Anders Lindback, as well as St Louis native Joe Vitale and Hall of Famer Chris Pronger (never not funny). Those injuries to the goaltenders have given an opportunity to Louis Domingue to step up - and he's made the most of it. For this year, he has a record of 12-8-4 and a .916 Save Percentage. He's expected in net tonight. As for the Blues, you could say Brian Elliott is a pretty safe bet. By the way, his 1.99 GAA and .934 SV% leads the whole damn league right now.
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Final Verse: A late game tonight, as is to be expected. The puck drops at 8:00 PM St Louis time, and the GDT should drop shortly before that. Please do drop by and pay us a visit. The TV broadcast is on Fox Sports MW, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120 AM. Of course, there are (cough) other sources (cough) too. It's throwback night for the Desert Dogs, and they'll be wearing the old "Peyote Coyote" uniforms tonight. So, you know, that'll be fun. I'm personally glad that the Commish has stuck up for the Coyote fans in their ongoing/constant struggles there....