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COYOTES VS. ST. LOUIS: GAME PREVIEW

Tuesday, 12.20.2005 / 2:19 PM / News
Arizona Coyotes
St Louis at Phoenix
St Louis Phoenix
Blues-Coyotes Preview

GAME: St. Louis Blues (6-19-4) at Phoenix Coyotes (16-15-2).

TIME: Tuesday, 9 p.m. EST.

The Phoenix Coyotes hope to avoid a season-high fourth straight loss when they host the league-worst St. Louis Blues.

The Coyotes lost 4-1 to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday in their first game without coach Wayne Gretzky, who is on indefinite leave after his mother died Monday night.

"It's something that you deal with. We have good leadership in this room, so we'll be more than OK in that area," Phoenix captain Shane Doan said. "We were ready. We were well prepared and we had decent scoring opportunities. But something like this makes you realize that hockey isn't important in the grand scheme of things, and our thoughts and prayers are with the whole Gretzky family."

Goaltender Brian Boucher made 33 saves in his season debut Saturday after missing the first 30 games with a groin injury.

"It was a good game for me," Boucher said. "I got a lot of work and there were a lot of penalty kills, so it was a good test for me. But the result wasn't what we were looking for."

The Coyotoes have been outscored 12-4 during the three-game skid, matching their longest of the season.

With its offense struggling, Phoenix will look to Doan to continue his success against St. Louis. In 39 career games against the Blues, Doan has 10 goals and 18 assists. He has recorded at least a point in 12 of his the last 15 meetings with seven goals and 11 assists during that span.

The Blues, last in the NHL in wins (6) and points (16), have lost five of their last six games.

An unsettled goaltending situation is one of several problems currently hurting St. Louis.

Patrick Lalime was put on waivers last week and new starter Curtis Sanford has a hip injury. With Lalime rehabbing his game in the minors, Reinhard Divis was recalled from Peoria of the AHL on Monday.

Rookie Jason Bacashihua made 22 saves in his first career start Saturday, a 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Left wing Dean McAmmond, the team leader with 10 goals, has only one in his last eight games. He has not scored against the Coyotes since April 9, 2002, as a member of the Calgary Flames.

STANDINGS: Blues - 16 points, 5th place, 31 PB, Central Division. Coyotes - 34 points, 4th place, 9 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blues - McAmmond, 10 goals; Doug Weight, 17 assists and 23 points; Jamal Mayers, 74 PIM. Coyotes - Ladislav Nagy, 12 goals, 22 assists and 34 points; Sean O'Donnell, 65 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Blues - Power play: 14.2 percent (30 for 210), 28th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.7 percent (147 for 182), 23rd. Coyotes - Power play: 18.5 percent (40 for 216), 10th (tied). Penalty killing: 81.5 percent (168 for 206), 21st.

GOALTENDERS: Blues - Divis (0-2-0, 4.92 GAA); Bacashihua(0-1-0, 3.83). Coyotes - Boucher (0-1-0, 4.00); Curtis Joseph (14-9-0, 2 SO, 2.31).

SEASON SERIES: Coyotes, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 25; Coyotes, 5-4. At Glendale, Ariz., Mike Comrie had a goal and two assists while Mike Johnson and Nagy each added a goal and an assist.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blues - 2-8-2 on the road; Coyotes - 9-6-1 at home.

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