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Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM
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St. Louis Blues vs. Phoenix Coyotes

The Skinny
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By Associated Press
GLENDALE -- The St. Louis Blues will attempt to regain the lead atop the NHL standings while the Coyotes try to create some breathing room in the playoff race tonight at Arena. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time).

Phoenix (37-26-13) will enter the game in seventh place in the Western Conference standings, but tied with Pacific Division-leading Dallas with 87 points. Dallas is idle today, so if the Coyotes earn a point they will take over first place and the No. 3 seed in the standings.

► Click here to see the latest NHL standings.

"We know our situation," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "We know where we are, we know where we want to get to."

Derek Morris
Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris is expected to become the 277th player in NHL history to play in 1,000 NHL games tonight. Click here to read more.

"I haven’t even thought about it all that much. My kids are excited about it," Morris said. "...I just enjoy playing the game. It’s been fun."

Meanwhile, Coyotes left wing Ray Whitney is three points away from his 1,000th career point; if he reaches the milestone, Whitney would be the first NHL player to do so this season and the 79th in NHL history.

Backup goalie Jason LaBarbera will start in goal for the Coyotes in place of Mike Smith, who started Saturday's game in San Jose. LaBarbera last played on March 8 when he stopped 22 of 24 shots in a 3-2 shootout loss to Minnesota.

St. Louis (46-20-9) has already clinched its first playoff spot since 2008-09, but is 1-2-2 after winning nine of 10. Those recent struggles, which include being shut out twice, have left the Blues and the New York Rangers tied with a league-leading 101 points.

The Blues struggled to pull away in the race for their first Presidents' Trophy since 1999-2000, getting blanked again in Thursday's 1-0 shootout defeat at Los Angeles. Still, St. Louis is surely more concerned with eventually making a run at its first Stanley Cup. Another rough performance could be in store since St. Louis has killed 62 of the last 64 power plays its faced over 19 contests.

The Blues have beaten the Coyotes in both meetings this season, winning 4-1 at home on Jan. 3 after a 3-2 victory in Phoenix on Dec. 23. These teams will meet for the fourth and final time at St. Louis on April 6 in the penultimate game of the regular season.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of edited this story and compiled this preview.

Who's Hot
Coyotes center Daymond Langkow has scored one goal in each of the past two games. He also has two assists in the past three games.
Blues right wing T.J. Oshie already has matched his career-high for goals in a season with 18, and his 50 points this season are a personal best.
Did You Know?
  • The Coyotes, who lost at San Jose 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday, are 5-5-1 in the second game of back-to-back games this season.

  • The Coyotes will play minus captain Shane Doan, who has scored one of Phoenix's three goals vs. the Blues this season. Doan will serve the third game of a three-game suspension handed down by the NHL on Wednesday.

  • Tonight's game will be broadcast on FOX Sports Arizona and on XTRA Sports 910 AM at 6 p.m. For in-game updates via Twitter, follow @coyotesgameday.

2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 06 '12 PHX 4 at STL 1 R. Vrbata
Mar 25 '12 STL 4 at PHX 0 A. Pietrangelo
Jan 03 '12 PHX 1 at STL 4 J. Langenbrunner
Dec 23 '11 STL 3 at PHX 2 J. Arnott
D. Backes76232851+189784
T. Oshie74183250+164633
A. Pietrangelo75123648+173066
K. Shattenkirk7593241+255652
P. Berglund76181937+22403
D. Perron51162137+202843
J. Arnott67161632+132463
C. Stewart73151429+59821
A. Steen37131124+202223
J. Langenbrunner6451722+82802
V. Sobotka6751520+123801
A. McDonald2191019+2232
C. Colaiacovo6021719+82202
M. D'Agostini529918+152233
B. Jackman7511213+225000
R. Polak7301111+45700
K. Russell49549+112101
S. Nichol76358-36200
C. Porter47437-11101
K. Huskins21246+7200
I. Cole26156+72200
R. Reaves56314+010901
E. Grachev26134-4201
B. Crombeen39123-27100
J. Schwartz4202+2011
A. Cracknell2101+1000
C. Fairchild5011-1000
N. Nikitin7000-5400
B. Sterling4000-1000
T. Chorney2000+0000
J. Halak4325-11-68111041.90.927
B. Elliott3522-9-3528881.52.941
R. Whitney77234871+242671
R. Vrbata72302656+2222710
S. Doan74212647-114855
K. Yandle77103141+45102
L. Korpikoski77171835+01403
A. Vermette77102434-172434
M. Hanzal5982331+105732
O. Ekman-Larsson77121830-52821
D. Langkow68111728-51411
R. Torres74151025+16411
B. Gordon7071421+61001
M. Boedker7791120-61202
T. Pyatt707916-72100
K. Chipchura5131316+24200
G. Brule284913+6210
R. Klesla6031013+94300
D. Schlemko4611011+71000
D. Morris542810-132800
A. Aucoin61279+124010
M. Rozsival49189+32400
D. Rundblad30167-12600
C. O'Reilly27246-7410
P. O'Sullivan23224-4200
M. Pouliot13044-2200
M. Stone11123+4200
C. Summers21033-41100
P. Bissonnette31101-44101
P. Nokelainen5011-1000
A. Miele7000-3600
K. Turris6000-2400
A. Bolduc2000-1200
M. Watkins1000-1000
M. Smith6233-18-1014218742.36.924
J. LaBarbera193-9-3434862.54.912
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