By Dave Vest GLENDALE – The Coyotes will try to extend their winning streak to three games tonight when they host the St. Louis Blues at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (18-13-3) has won two games in a row and will enter the game in a three-way tie atop the Pacific Division with Dallas and San Jose. All three teams have earned 39 points.
The Coyotes have posted a 5-2-1 record vs. St. Louis under Head Coach Dave Tippett. That includes three wins in four games last season.
Jason LaBarbera will start in goal for the Coyotes in place of Mike Smith, who is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. LaBarbera has stopped 42 of 45 shots since replacing Smith in the third period of Tuesday’s game at Florida. Meanwhile, Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett on Friday said Smith’s injury does not appear to be a long-term injury.
Winger Ray Whitney will enter the game averaging more than a point per game over the last 16 games (six goals, 11 assists).
The Coyotes will wear their alternate black sweater for tonight’s game. Since its inception, Phoenix has posted a 21‐8‐2 record when wearing the black sweater.
Photo by Getty Images.
The Blues (19-10-4) will enter the game having lost two of their last three games following a four-game winning streak.
Despite the skid, St. Louis is 13-3-4 since veteran coach Ken Hitchcock took over on Nov. 6.
The Blues have received solid goaltending from Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak; the team’s 2.06 goals-against average ranks second in the NHL.
Forwards T.J. Oshie, Alexander Steen and David Backes co-lead the Blues with 11 goals, and Oshie and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk are tops on the assist list with 12.
“If you look at their lineup, they're solid right throughout,” Tippett said. “They have players in the right positions, right roles, their defense is solid, and their goaltending has been real solid for them also… (They have) come together well and played very well under Ken. We'll have our hands full.”
Coyotes center Cal O'Reilly has notched two goals and an assist in the past four games.
Blues left wing David Perron has notched one goal and five assists in the last five games.
The Coyotes will induct former captain Keith Tkachuk into the team's Ring of Honor during a pre-game ceremony. Click here to watch Tkachuk discuss this event.
The Coyotes have notched a power-play goal in three consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 18 – Feb 1, 2011, when the team netted a power-play goal in six straight games.
Tonight's game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona and on XTRA Sports 910 (AM). A link to the radio broadcast will be provided at phoenixcoyotes.com at 7 p.m. For in-game updates via Twitter, follow @coyotesgameday.