By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will play the first of back-to-back road games tonight when they take on the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time).
|Photo by Getty Images.
The teams will enter the game ranked ninth and 12th in the Western Conference standings, respectively, separated by just one point.
Coyotes No. 1 goalie Ilya Bryzgalov
, who has missed eight of the team’s past 12 games for various medicl and personal reasons, will not play again tonight. Bryzgalov tended Phoenix’s net in the first two games between these teams this season and stopped 53 of 60 shots in those games – one win, one loss. Instead, backup Jason LaBarbera
will make his 14th appearance of the season.
Defenseman Keith Yandle
leads the Coyotes with 30 points. Only six other NHL blueliners have more points than Yandle, whose 110 shots on goal rank fifth among the league’s defensemen.
This is the first game of the second half of the season for the Coyotes (19-13-9), who are trying to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second season in a row. Through 41 games, Phoenix has earned 47 points. After 41 games last season, the Coyotes had earned 53.
The Coyotes will play at Columbus on Tuesday night then return to Arizona for a four-game homestand.
► EDITOR'S NOTE:
The Coyotes on Monday acquired defenseman Michal Rozsival in a trade with the New York Rangers. Click here
for more details.
The Blues (20-14-6), have lost three games in a row since beating the Coyotes, 4-3, on New Year’s Eve.
St. Louis has won 14 of its first 22 home games, all in front of sellout crowds. Tonight’s game will be their final home game before playing three road games in four nights – all in California.
Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who finished first among Western Conference goalies in All-Star fan balloting, has given up 10 goals in his last three appearances. His save percentage during that span is .857.
Center Alex Steen leads the Blues with 14 goals.