Blues 4, Coyotes 1
By Louie Korac | NHL.com Correspondent
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues got a goal and an assist from Jamie Langenbrunner in a 4-1 victory against the Coyotes at the Scottrade Center on Tuesday night.
Phoenix (19-17-4), which will play five road games before January is two weeks old, got a goal from Radim Vrbata but fell to 1-4-1 in its last six games.
Starting goalie Mike Smith, who was activated Tuesday from injured reserve after missing six games because of a groin injury, stopped 27 shots in his return to the lineup.
"He's a big part of our team and we need him to be in there and play big like he was," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "He played well tonight. We just weren't good enough in front of him."
Chris Stewart, T.J. Oshie and Patrik Berglund also scored goals while David Perron and Alex Pietrangelo each had a pair of assists for the Blues (22-12-5), who improved to 17-0-0 on the season when scoring three or more goals in a game.
Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak stopped 34 shots and has not lost in regulation in eight straight starts, going 5-0-3 in that stretch.
"That's a game that we needed to put more will and commitment in the game," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "I thought they won a lot more of the one-on-one battles than we did, and when you don't win enough battles you don't create enough opportunities and you usually don't win games."
|Mike Smith plays the puck on Tuesday night. Photo by Getty Images.
The Blues came out with zip, and their top line set the tone. Stewart gave them a 1-0 lead when he found a rebound in the slot and beat Smith 4:43 into the game.
Langenbrunner tipped a Barret Jackman point shot past Smith with four minutes left in the first to make the score 2-0.
St. Louis had a chance to make it 3-0 when Backes skated past Coyotes forward Ray Whitney and got a shorthanded breakaway attempt late in the first. Smith closed the pads with 1:40 left and Phoenix cashed in on the power play when Vrbata snapped the puck past Halak just 29 seconds later to make it 2-1.
The Blues continued their hard forecheck, getting pucks to the net as well as driving it into the second period, and Oshie restored their two-goal lead with a power-play goal of his own (see KEY MOMENT below).
St. Louis protected its two-goal lead throughout the third period and got an empty-net goal from Berglund with 37.9 seconds left.
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com edited this story and compiled this recap.
Leading 2-1, Blues forward T.J. Oshie backhanded the rebound of a power-play shot by defenseman Alex Pietrangelo off the left post and into the net at 4:28 of the second period.
The momentum-seizing goal capped an odd-man rush by the Blues that was created when Coyotes defenseman Michal Rozsival
raced to the bench for a new stick while the Blues chased the puck in the neutral zone.
"Phoenix has a good defense and I thought we got into them a little in the second period, got the momentum," Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said. "The third goal was huge."
► Click here
to watch the KEY MOMENT
• Right wing Radim Vrbata
scored his team-leading 19th goal of the season in his 40th game. Last season, Vrbata finished the year with 19 goals in 79 games.
• Defenseman Keith Yandle
played a game-high 25:34, took a game-high six shots on goal, and assisted on Radim Vrbata
's goal in the first period.
• Center Daymond Langkow
quietly played a solid game. Langkow led all Phoenix forwards in ice time (21:07). He took three shots, delivered two hits and won 15 of 24 faceoffs.
• Center Marc-Antoine Pouliot
, whom the Coyotes recalled from the American Hockey League late last week, played 10:42 in his Phoenix debut and took three shots on goal. He also took 10 faceoffs but won only four.
• The Coyotes played without forward Raffi Torres
who served his first game of a two-game suspension handed down by the NHL on Monday for charging Minnesota's Nate Prosser during Saturday's game. Phoenix also played minus centers Martin Hanzal
(upper-body injury) and Boyd Gordon
(lower-body injury). Both players are on the injured reserve list.
• The Coyotes scratched Derek Morris
, Raffi Torres
and David Rundblad
• The Coyotes' next game is Thursday vs. the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center. The puck drops at 8:30 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).
||"It's always nice to get back (in the lineup), but it's not the outcome we were looking for. We got out-competed tonight. We've got to find ways to win hockey games."
||"I think we got out-competed in the first two periods... I thought in the third period we started winning more battles, but it was too little, too late."
||"I think it was a really good game. Give our guys credit. After losing three straight we came up big.”
|Three star selections