By Dave Vest The Coyotes will end 2010 with a New Year’s Eve game against the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center. The puck drops at 6:30 p.m. (Arizona time).
Photo by Getty Images.
Phoenix (17-12-7) will be looking to win back-to-back games for the first time since a seven-game winning streak ended in late November. On Wednesday, the Coyotes scored a season-high six goals and beat Los Angeles, 6-3, in Glendale.
Phoenix topped LA despite playing without three of its top seven goal scorers – Martin Hanzal (nine goals), Radim Vrbata (seven) and Taylor Pyatt (seven). All three are nursing injuries and are listed as day-to-day. Vrbata and Pyatt likely will return to the lineup tonight so some intriguing personnel decisions will need to be made.
“It's good to have that depth,” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “That's something that we're going to need moving forward.”
UPDATE: Forward Brett MacLean, who scored a goal in his NHL debut on Wednesday vs. LA, was assigned back to the American Hockey League on Friday. Click here for more details.
Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to start in goal for the Coyotes. It will be Bryzgalov's third start in four nights since returning from an upper-body injury.
St. Louis (19-12-5) enters the game having won four games in a row and has allowed only six goals during their streak.
Jaroslav Halak, who sat out the first game between these teams on Nov. 13, is expected to be in net for the rematch. Halak has never faced the Coyotes but is 10-4-2 with a 1.73 goals-against average and three shutouts at home this season.
The Coyotes beat St. Louis, 5-3, on Nov. 13 in the only game between these teams this season. Ray Whitney keyed the win by notching a hat trick at Jobing.com Arena.
Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle has notched 11 assists in his last nine games, and leads the team with 26 points. Only 10 other NHL defensemen have more assists than Yandle this season.
Blues center Alexander Steen, who has notched 11 points in his last 11 games, leads the team with 11 goals and 116 shots on goal in 36 games (3.2 per game).
The Coyotes are 4-1-1 in the six games they've played on New Year's Eve since moving to Phoenix from Winnipeg in 1996.
Coyotes Play-By-Play Announcer Dave Strader and TV/Radio Host Todd Walsh will work the game for the Versus network tonight.
This game can be seen on Versus and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM). A link to the radio broadcast will be provided at phoenixcoyotes.com at 6:30 p.m.