Blues welcome Coyotes, aim for fifth straight
Thursday, 12.30.2010 / 10:08 PM
NHL.comCOYOTES (17-12-7) at BLUES (19-12-5)
TV -- TSN2 (HD), VERSUS (HD)
Last 10 --
Phoenix 4-5-1; St. Louis 6-3-1
Season series --
This is the second of four meetings between the teams this season. On Nov. 13, Ray Whitney had a hat trick to lead the Coyotes to a 5-3 win at Jobing.com Arena.
Big Story --
The Coyotes will look to end 2010 with back-to-back wins for the first time since their seven-game win streak ended Nov. 23. The Blues will be trying for their own New Year's celebration by extending their win streak to five games.
One of Phoenix's most impressive lines in Wednesday's 6-3 win against the Kings was the Alamo Line of Kyle Turris, Mikkel Boedker and Brett MacLean. The threesome had played together with AHL San Antonio, and coach Dave Tippett put them together after MacLean was called up earlier in the day. Turris and MacLean each had a goal, and Boedker was a plus-1 with two shots.
MacLean gave all the credit for his goal to Scottie Upshall, who made a nice pass to get him the puck.
"Luckily, he found me," MacLean told the Arizona Republic. "I just had my stick on the ice, and he made a perfect pass. It's a great feeling. You want to get it off your back early; a pretty exciting feeling."
That youthful enthusiasm must have inspired the rest of the team, as the Coyotes had scored 10 goals total in their previous seven games.
GM Doug Armstrong thought he had found a solution to his team's scoring woes in Marek Svatos. That lasted all of 24 hours, however, as Svatos was claimed by the Predators on waivers after St. Louis signed him out of the KHL.
Instead, he's back to shopping for something to help up front with TJ Oshie
, David Perron
and Andy McDonald
out with injuries.
"Our job is to always talk to other teams and if there is something there that can improve our team short and long-term … if we do end up making a player trade, we want to make a good player trade -- whether it's for current roster players, or Peoria (AHL) players or draft picks or prospects, we want to make sure we're not reactionary," Armstrong told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We're going to be careful with what we do."
Who's Hot --
Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle tied a career high with 3 assists against the Kings, and has 5 points in his last four games. … Blues center Alexander Steen
had his four-game scoring streak snapped Tuesday against the Blackhawks, but he has 11 points in his last 11 games.
Injury Report --
Perron (concussion), Oshie (left ankle) and McDonald (concussion) are on injured reserve and continuing to work their way back. Forward Dave Scatchard
is out 4-6 weeks with a lower-body injury. … Coyotes forward Taylor Pyatt is on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, and forward Radim Vrbata sat out Wednesday's game against the Kings and is questionable for Friday's game with a lower-body injury.
Stat Pack --
Shane Doan had the 36th 2-goal game of his career Wednesday, but remains looking for his first NHL hat trick.
Puck Drop --
The Blues have allowed one goal in their last two games and six goals during their four-game win streak. The players are pointing to the fact that the six defensemen they started the season with finally are all healthy -- Barrett Jackman, Eric Brewer
, Roman Polak
, Carlo Colaiacovo
, Erik Johnson
and Alex Pietrangelo
"That's our big six right there," coach Davis Payne told the Post-Dispatch. "They have experience. They have offensive ability. They have defensive ability. It's a well-balanced group.
"With Roman getting back healthy, with Petro (Pietrangelo) getting back healthy, it's a complete picture. They are playing good hockey. It makes it easier in our own end, it makes it easier to get out of our end. Chances (allowed) go down, chances-for go up. They've done a real effective job, especially (Tuesday)."