Newsflash: the Arizona Coyotes have not had a very good season. They’re 10-28-9, last place in the Western Conference, and lost 3-2 in a shootout Thursday night against the Central Division leading Nashville Predators. Last minute blown leads and overtime losses aren’t the total property of the Yotes, but it’s still a kick in the gut when you’re down.
The Blues, on the other hand, are 2-0-0 since returning from the bye week. The time off has done some good for a franchise looking for their 1800th win, and home is a good place to get that milestone. The Blues have won three out of their last four home games, and have won 12 straight games against the Coyotes. That’s tied for the longest winning streak against an opponent in the league. Points in 16 straight against Arizona isn’t anything to sneeze at either.
This is a good time for the Blues to face the Coyotes. The Central Division is the tightest race in the NHL with just ten points dividing the Predators from the last place (!) Chicago Blackhawks. Any points the Blues can get will be vital down the home stretch.
Tonight’s lines look similar to the ones that were so successful against another shaky team: the Ottawa Senators.
Ivan Barbashev - Paul Stastny - Vladimir Tarasenko
Alexander Steen - Brayden Schenn - Dmitrij Jaskin
Vladimir Sobotka - Patrik Berglund - Tage Thompson
Magnus Paajarvi - Kyle Brodziak - Chris Thorburn
Joel Edmundson - Alex Pietrangelo
Jay Bouwmeester - Colton Parayko
Vince Dunn - Robert Bortuzzo
With the offense clicking and the defense scoring again, there’s no reason to tweak them.
You may notice that this is Carter Hutton’s third straight start. He’s tied for first in the league with Marc-Andre Fleury with a GAA of 1.72. He’s the hot hand. None of this should come as any surprise.