Blues try to get back on track vs. Coyotes

( – The previously red-hot St. Louis Blues hope to halt a
two-game slide when they welcome the Arizona Coyotes for Tuesday’s encounter
at Scottrade Center.

St. Louis set a club-record with a 13-game point streak (12-0-1) from Jan. 3-
Feb. 5, but has lost two straight since, falling 7-1 in Columbus on
Friday before dropping Sunday’s 4-2 decision against visiting Chicago.

The loss against the Blue Jackets also snapped a seven-game winning streak,
while the Blackhawks halted St. Louis’ home point streak snapped at nine games

Sunday’s game was tied at 2-2 after 40 minutes, but Marian Hossa scored twice
in the third period to lift the Chicago over its Central Division rivals.
Hossa broke a tie game on a power play with 8:41 remaining and added an empty-
netter with 13.5 seconds left.

Vladimir Tarasenko and David Backes scored second-period goals for St. Louis,
while Brian Elliott allowed three goals on 27 shots.

“I really thought after the second period, based on the way we played in the
second, that we had a real push going, but we didn’t sustain much in the third
period,” said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock.

St. Louis, which hasn’t lost three straight since a 0-3-1 slide from Dec.
18-27, is second in the Central and three points ahead of the Blackhawks. The
Blues also trail first-place Nashville by only four points.

Jake Allen will get the start in net tonight for the Blues, who are capping a
two-game homestand before visiting Tampa Bay and Florida on Thursday and

The Blues have dominated this evening’s opponent in recent years, taking the
last four in a row from the Coyotes. Arizona has been outscored by a combined
12-1 margin in two meetings this season and has lost 10 of 12 overall in the
series. St. Louis is 3-0-1 over the last four encounters in the Gateway City.

The Coyotes, who are 14 points out of a playoff spot in the West, picked up a
win Monday in Chicago, beating the Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout. Antoine
Vermette scored in regulation and also netted the deciding marker in the
shootout to help Arizona escape the Windy City with two points.

Mike Smith made 36 saves through regulation and overtime for the Coyotes. He
also stopped two of Chicago’s three attempts in the tiebreaker.

Each team scored through the first two rounds of the shootout and then
Vermette beat Antti Raanta with a wrister. Smith closed out the contest by
denying Patrick Sharp.

“I tried to catch him moving a little bit and tried to surprise him quick in
the five hole,” said Vermette.

Arizona has won three straight games away from home and is 11-14-3 on the road
this season. The Coyotes will begin a two-game homestand Friday against the
San Jose Sharks.