fbpx

PREVIEW: Arizona Coyotes, St. Louis Blues vie for supremacy in finale of seven-game series

Feb 13, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Coyotes defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin (46) and St. Louis Blues left wing Kyle Clifford (13) battle for position during the second period at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes and St. Louis Blues will play the rubber match of their unique seven-game regular-season series Monday afternoon in Glendale, Ariz.

The Coyotes and Blues are in the midst of their lengthy series against each other due to COVID-19 postponements elsewhere in the NHL. Both teams earned seven points over the first six games.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Coyotes, check out #ArizonaCoyotes rumors, rankings, and news here.

“It’s a battle, it’s playoff hockey,” Arizona forward Barrett Hayton said. “We see it as a series. It’s seven games. Every night is a battle. They’re a strong team, a heavy team, obviously you see the success they’ve had. It’s a big competition, and every night it’s a fight.”

The Coyotes won three times, including once in a shootout. The Blues won three times, including their 5-4 overtime victory Saturday in Gila River Arena.

“Every game has been a battle so far,” said Blues winger Mike Hoffman, who scored 1:49 into overtime on Saturday. “But these are the ones you want to play. You don’t want to have easy games. It makes us a better club. We’ve got to expect the same thing the next game.”

The Blues extended their road winning streak to five games by winning twice on this trip to Arizona.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Blues, check out #STLBlues rumors, rankings, and news here.

“Two wins is nice,” Hoffman said. “It would be nice to go home with the third one as well.”

Hoffman (four goals, two assists), Ryan O’Reilly (four goals, three assists) and David Perron (one goal, five assists) have led the Blues’ offensive charge against the Coyotes.

The Coyotes have enjoyed strong production from their top offensive line of Conor Garland (three goals, four assists), Nick Schmaltz (three goals, three assists) and Clayton Keller (two goals, three assists) in this series.

Arizona has played stride for stride with the Blues during the series. Saturday’s game could have gone either way, just like the others in the series.

“They won the Stanley Cup two years ago,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said Saturday night. “They’re a hard team to play, I don’t know what else to say. They pushed us, they scored some goals, and we lost in overtime.”

Both teams made lineup changes from game to game in the series for varying reasons.

The Blues lost forward Robert Thomas for several weeks with a broken thumb. He has joined forwards Tyler Bozak and Vladimir Tarasenko on long-term injured reserve. Forward Jaden Schwartz missed Saturday night’s game with a lower-body injury.

Related: NHL power rankings – Lightning lead the way after Stanley Cup repeat

Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson missed Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury. Johan Larsson will sit out Monday while serving the second half of two-game suspension by the NHL for delivering a high hit on Blues forward Zach Sanford. Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson missed Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury. Johan Larsson will sit out Monday while serving the second half of two-game suspension by the NHL for delivering a high hit on Blues forward Zach Sanford.

The Blues will almost certainly go back to No. 1 goaltender Jordan Binnington (7-2-2, 2.50 goals-against average) in net for this game after starting backup Ville Husso on Saturday.

Related: NHL trade rumors – Latest buzz for 2021 free agency

The Coyotes could return to Darcy Kuemper (4-6-1, 2.46 GAA) after starting Antti Raanta on Saturday. Kuemper has a .918 save percentage in his four starts against the Blues this season.

–Field Level Media