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game preview

Preview: Coyotes at Blues

Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 11:42 AM

NHL.com | Dave Vest

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Preview: Coyotes at Blues
Phoenix Coyotes vs. St. Louis Blues

Season series: This is the second of three matchups this season between two teams that will wrap up their season series in St. Louis on April 18. Just last week, the Blues topped the Coyotes in Glendale, 6-3, with Chris Stewart registering a goal and three assists in the win. St. Louis went 3-1-0 against Phoenix last season.

Big story: Two of the League's stingiest defenses appeared to be springing leaks lately, but the Coyotes are coming off two impressive division wins while the Blues may have momentarily recaptured their early-season form despite a slate of injuries.

Team Scope:

Photo by Getty Images.

Coyotes: Phoenix is starting a week-long, four-game trip with a two-game winning streak.

The Coyotes have won just three of 10 road games this season and are just 1-3-1 in their last five games away from Arizona.

Center Antoine Vermette played a quiet yet key role in those wins with dominating play in the face-off circles, and he now leads the NHL with a 61.2 success rate.

Meanwhile, captain Shane Doan Captain has scored a goal in each of his last three games and five of his last seven.

Mike Smith is expected to make his 22nd start of the season tonight. Only seven other goalies have started more games than Smith, who is 3-4-0 vs. St. Louis in his career.

Head Coach Dave Tippett on Thursday said there is a chance injured forward Matthew Lombardi would return to the lineup after missing two games because of an upper-body injury. He also said defenseman David Schlemko, who hasn't played since Feb. 4 because of an upper-body injury, could play in this game, too.

Note: CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO TIPPETT'S REMARKS AFTER THURSDAY'S MORNING SKATE

Blues: After going 2-3-0 on their recent season-long five-game road trip, the Blues hosted San Jose on Tuesday night to play the Sharks for the second time in three days. After pulling out a 4-3 overtime victory in San Jose on Saturday, the Blues wanted to be sure they wouldn't require extra time to knock off the Sharks this time around.

Stewart opened the scoring in the latter half of the opening period and David Perron and Chris Porter sandwiched a Brent Burns goal for San Jose in the second to put the Blues firmly in control. Chris Stewart sealed the 4-2 victory with an empty-net goal and Jake Allen gave his finest performance of the season, stopping 39 of 41 shots for the win.

"He played a tremendous game," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said of Allen, who also beat San Jose on Saturday. "Your goaltending has to do that for you throughout the season. He's got to be able to steal games."

Klinkhammer

Who's hot: Forward Rob Klinkhammer has scored a goal in each of his first two games with the Coyotes. He is just the third player in franchise history (Oleg Saprykin and Wojtek Wolski) to score a goal in each of his first two games with the team. … For the Blues, Stewart and Alex Pietrangelo have been on fire, registering nine and six points respectively in their last five games. Patrik Berglund has six points in his current five-game point streak.

Injury report: Defenseman Zbynek Michalek (ankle) is not expected to play because of a lower-body injury. Ditto forward Radim Vrbata. … With wing T.J. Oshie now questionable with an upper-body injury, the Blues are suffering with a slew of injuries to their forwards as Vladimir Tarasenko (concussion), Andy McDonald (knee) and Jamie Langenbrunner (hip surgery) are all on IR.

2012-2013 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 18 '13PHX 1 at STL 2 - SOA. McDonald
Mar 14 '13PHX 0 at STL 3C. Stewart
Mar 07 '13STL 6 at PHX 3S. Nichol
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. Boedker2761218-2631
O. Ekman-Larsson2731417+81401
S. Doan279716+02101
K. Yandle2751015-13231
A. Vermette276713-11812
D. Moss2731013+21200
M. Hanzal187512-3822
S. Sullivan245712-51820
R. Vrbata154812-1810
L. Korpikoski276511+0610
K. Chipchura274610+34300
R. Torres19549+0900
D. Morris22088-52400
B. Gordon27077-1600
N. Johnson17426+3011
M. Lombardi13246-1010
M. Stone20213-2810
R. Klesla18123-2600
P. Bissonnette16033+22000
R. Klinkhammer3202+2201
Z. Michalek25022+61200
D. Schlemko10022+1800
D. Rundblad8011-5000
A. Bolduc7000-3200
C. Summers6000-3900
A. Miele1000+1000
C. Brown1000+0200
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
M. Smith2211-8-2616052.92.899
J. LaBarbera61-3-0101252.23.920
C. Johnson21-0-12420.98.952
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
C. Stewart27131326+43131
D. Perron2791120-12622
A. Steen1951419+5622
D. Backes2731619+13210
K. Shattenkirk2721719+01020
A. Pietrangelo2751318-2620
P. Berglund2713417-1442
T. Oshie2651217-61321
V. Sobotka277613-51912
V. Tarasenko176612-1821
A. McDonald183811+0810
B. Jackman272810+102800
J. Schwartz24246-8400
W. Redden17224-21100
R. Polak27033-31900
K. Russell23033+3400
R. Reaves25112+06000
M. D'Agostini15112-3200
C. Porter9112+4001
A. Cracknell8022+0200
S. Nichol23101-12501
I. Cole14011-41000
J. Langenbrunner4011+1000
A. Murray1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Allen97-1-0202342.33.915
J. Halak115-3-1231942.38.881
B. Elliott113-6-1332213.65.851
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