|STL||0||2||1||(0 - 0)||3|
|PHX||0||1||1||(0 - 0)||2|
By Jerry Brown | NHL.com Correspondent
GLENDALE – On the night when Keith Tkachuk joined the Coyotes' Ring of Honor, the perfect ending was spoiled by the same culprit that often foiled "Captain Coyote" in days gone by – a hot goaltender.
St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott improved to 14-3-0 by making 24 saves and the Blues spoiled their former teammate's special night in the desert with a 3-1 win on Friday at Jobing.com Arena.
Matt D'Agostini snapped a 1-1 deadlock with 1:35 left in the second period and Jason Arnott gave the Blues a two-goal lead 1:48 into the third period. Alexander Steen also scored for St. Louis, now 14-3-4 since Ken Hitchcock took over behind the bench on Nov. 6. It was Arnott's 21st career goal against the Coyotes and his 56th point in 57 career games against Phoenix.
Evgeny Grachev assisted on the goals by D'Agostini and Arnott.
Shane Doan and Keith Yandle scored for the Coyotes, who are 11-6-1 on the road and were coming off back-to-back wins at Florida and Carolina but dropped to 7-8-2 at home and have lost four of their last five at Jobing.com Arena.
"We've been banging our head against the wall trying to figure out why," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "If you had told me that by Christmas we'd be a game under .500 (at home), I would be very surprised. That's something that's going to have to change. It's unacceptable to have the home record we do."
The Coyotes (18-14-3) have been holding their game-day skates in Scottsdale this season, 30 minutes away from the arena and conveniently close to where the players live. But that might change.
"Whether we have to change our practice schedule or the way we do things at home … we're going to change something up to get it fixed," Tippett said.
Both teams had trouble getting started after a 30-minute ceremony to honor Tkachuk, who played all but 18 games of his 19-year career with the two teams. But one player who was ready was Elliott, who entered the game leading the NHL goals-against average (1.52) and save percentage (.944) and showed why with pretty glove saves early on shots by Kyle Chipchura and Ray Whitney.
Elliott also caught a break when Daymond Langkow was set up by Doan two-on-one but hit the right post with an open net to shoot at.
"They got a couple chances early and you want to make those first two saves to kind of get your head in the game," Elliott said. "Luckily for me, they were kind of bang-bang plays and it gets you into it pretty early. But we did a good job as a team of settling down and taking it to them."
|Photo by Getty Images.
Steen, whose father Tomas is also in the Ring of Honor in Glendale and was a Tkachuk teammate during his distinguished career as a Winnipeg Jet (1981-95), broke a scoreless tie 7:12 into the second period. Alex Pietrangelo gobbled up a Phoenix turnover at the St. Louis blue line and caught Steen in stride as he split the Phoenix defense. Rostislav Klesla tried to hook Steen from behind, but he fought it off and beat Phoenix goalie Jason LaBarbera for his team-best 12th goal. Steen also leads the Blues at a plus-22 through 34 games.
But the Coyotes needed only 44 seconds to answer and a future Coyotes Ring of Honor member did the honors. Elliott stopped Michal Rozsival's shot between the circles, but the rebound bounced right to Doan, who beat Elliott to the near post for his ninth goal of the season and 305th of his career -- 18 shy of Tkachuk for second on the all-time franchise list.
The Coyotes had two quick power plays to try to cash in on the momentum, but Elliott stopped Whitney twice and Oliver Ekman-Larsson once before the Blues regained the lead.
After D'Agostini gave St. Louis a 2-1 lead late in the second period (see KEY MOMENT below), Arnott gave the Blues (20-10-4) a 3-1 lead by cleaning up a Kris Russell rebound early in the third.
Yandle cut the lead in half with 6:21 left by one-timing a Raffi Torres feed past Elliott, but the Coyotes never seriously threatened to get the equalizer.
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com edited this story and compiled this recap.
|Alexander Steen (12) ASST: Alex Pietrangelo (6)|
1 - 0 STL
|Shane Doan (9) ASST: Lauri Korpikoski (8), Michal Rozsival (2)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Matt D'Agostini (7) ASST: Roman Polak (8), Evgeny Grachev (3)|
2 - 1 STL
|Jason Arnott (7) ASST: Kris Russell (3), Matt D'Agostini (7)|
3 - 1 STL
|Keith Yandle (5) ASST: Raffi Torres (5), Cal O'Reilly (4)|
3 - 2 STL
|David Backes Interference against David Schlemko|
|Keith Yandle Hi-sticking against Jason Arnott|
|Keith Yandle Hi-sticking against Jason Arnott|
|David Perron Tripping against Lauri Korpikoski|
|Kris Russell Tripping against Lauri Korpikoski|
|David Backes Hi-sticking against Rostislav Klesla|
|David Schlemko Hooking against David Perron|
|Ray Whitney Misconduct (10 min)|
|SA: 26||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 24||EV: 20 - 22|
|PIM: 0||PP: 4 - 4|
|SV%: .923||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 18||TOI: 59:21|
|Saves: 15||EV: 15 - 18|
|PIM: 0||PP: 0 - 0|
|SV%: .833||SH: 0 - 0|