The Blues two game series against Anaheim was, by nearly all metrics, a successful one. The Blues outscored the Ducks 10-2 and outshot them 53-50. The team could’ve been stronger in the face-off circle, but they were playing a team who couldn’t convert on possession time. Tonight and Thursday the Blues are playing the Arizona Coyotes, who have been a thorn in their side in recent history. The Blues have fared well against Arizona at home, though, skating off with at least a point in at least 11 of their last 13 home games.
Jaden Schwartz plays the Coyotes very well, but Blues fans will probably be paying a little more attention to Brayden Schenn and Jordan Kyrou. The two forwards lead the team in points with 10, and Schenn is riding a seven game point streak.
Arizona looks a little bit different from the last time that the Blues saw them, nearly a year ago. Taylor Hall left in free agency to try his hand with Jack Eichel in Buffalo, Michael Grabner remains a UFA, and Brad Richardson is in Nashville. The Coyotes still have some danger, though. St. Louis product Clayton Keller has two goals and two assists on the season, Phil Kessel has four goals to lead the team in that category, and Christian Dvorak and and Conor Garland lead the team with seven points (three goals, four assists).
Starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper hasn’t had scads of support in front of him, much like Ducks’ goaltender John Gibson. He can still steal a game with a solid performance, but consistent winning depends on the Coyotes being consistently decent. They’re 3-4-1 to start the season, so they’re still working on that consistency. The Blues shouldn’t give them a chance to gain a foothold.
Tonight, with the cooperation and advisement of the City of St. Louis Health Department, the Blues will be opening seats up to 1400 socially distanced fans. They’ll be made up of front line workers and season ticket holders with seniority. The Blues are excited about the opportunity to play in front of their fans. It’s been an up and down adventure for them without the real crowd noise, so between having an audience and their strong performance against Anaheim, the Blues are in a good position to keep on rolling against the Coyotes.