The residents of the Western Conference’s penthouse and outhouse collide in the Gateway City on Thursday as the red-hot St. Louis Blues host the spiraling Arizona Coyotes. The Blues have won two straight and are 8-1-1 in their last 10 while the Coyotes answered winning just their second game of the season by dropping the first two contests of their three-game road trip.
Brayden Schenn, who will play in his 450th career game on Thursday, followed up a four-assist performance in St. Louis’ 6-4 win over Toronto on Saturday by joining Vladimir Tarasenko with a three-point effort in a 3-1 triumph at New Jersey three nights later. “It’s been fun, two guys with tons of skill,” Schenn said of Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz, a line that has accounted for 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in the last two games. Fun is not the operative word in Arizona, which was limited to just Tobias Rieder’s third goal of the season and first since Oct. 10 in a 3-1 setback to Pittsburgh on Tuesday. The 34-year-old German has failed to dent the scoresheet in all eight career encounters with the Blues while registering a minus-6 rating.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Arizona, FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
ABOUT THE COYOTES (2-13-2): Antti Raanta stumbled out of the blocks in his 100th career game on Tuesday, yielding two goals in the first 3:07 of the contest before settling in for the night against the Penguins. “The first 10 minutes are usually crucial, and the first one was that kind of goal you don’t want to let it,” the 28-year-old Finn said. “It was tough for the team after those two goals.” The margin for error is excruciatingly slim in the desert, with Arizona’s 2.4 goals per game ranking 29th in the league while its 28th-ranked penalty kill (75.0 percent) isn’t doing the team any favors, either.
ABOUT THE BLUES (12-3-1): Jake Allen has stepped up his game with a 5-1-0 mark, 1.84 goals-against average and .933 save percentage in his last six starts. Impressive numbers to be certain, but the 27-year-old New Brunswick native has been even more dominant versus the Coyotes - turning aside a staggering 174 of 181 shots to record two shutouts and win all seven career encounters. Allen isn’t the only Blue to fluster Arizona, as Schwartz has collected 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 15 career meetings while Tarasenko has 13 (five goals, eight assists) in 13 contests.
1. St. Louis has won 12 of its first 16 games of a season for the first time in franchise history while its 25 points after that stretch ties a club record.
2. Arizona D Oliver Ekman-Larsson appears to have flipped the page from a lackluster October, notching an assist for the second straight game to increase his point total to three (one goal, two assists) in four November outings.
3. The Blues outscored the Coyotes 10-2 en route to winning all three meetings last season, highlighted by LW Alexander Steen notching four assists in a 4-1 triumph on March 27.
PREDICTION: Blues 5, Coyotes 1