If there ever was a misunderstood figure in the NHL, it has to be Phil Kessel. Hesitant to offer up scintillating interviews to the press, probably out of concerns that the hockey press in Boston, Toronto, and Pittsburgh could be obsessive at best, obnoxious at worst, he’s an enigma. Does he love hot dogs? Does he have bad breath? Does he not want anything to do with Pierre McGuire?
So many questions, all of which remain (mostly) unanswered because Phil was traded this off-season to the Arizona Coyotes. He and the Yotes have been a great pairing. He gets to exist without a constant spotlight and the Coyotes get to benefit from his skills. The Coyotes are also benefiting from Nick Schmaltz and St. Louisan Clayton Keller, who are one-two on the team in points. They don’t have a player with more than ten goals this season, but they sit at third in the Pacific with 22 points and a 10-6-2 record. Their record on the road is one of the best in the league, where they’re 6-2-2.
The Blues have returned from a road trip where they swept all four games. Three of those four games were decided in overtime. The Blues flew home with a seven game win streak despite losing Vladimir Tarasenko for five months and Alexander Steen for one. They also have played three of the Western Conference’s three best teams, and are in for another tough matchup tonight.
The line-up will probably be the same as it was in Calgary, because a) why mess with success and b) who else are they going to put in? Jamie McGinn skated on a PTO yesterday and Troy Brouwer skated on one this morning, so the Blues have options for the future, just not any for tonight.
They have a good chance for continuing the streak tonight against the Coyotes, who are 1-2-1 in their last four and who are just as talented at blowing late leads as the Blues seem to be.