Blues defeat Coyotes for 12th straight time
ST. LOUIS — Speaking to the media after his team’s morning skate before Thursday night’s game against the struggling Arizona Coyotes, coach Mike Yeo of the St. Louis Blues made a prediction about the game.
Hours later, Yeo began his post-game press conference by saying, “I just want to remind you guys of what I said this morning — that it was going to be tight and go right down to the end. ... That’s what we expected.”
Despite the difference between the team’s records — with the Blues off to the best start in franchise history and the Coyotes sitting at the bottom of the league — Yeo’s prediction proved true as the Blues needed goals from Brayden Schenn and Alexander Steen in the shootout to earn a 3-2 victory.
That came after the Blues fell behind 2-1 after the second period and had to rally to tie the game on a goal from Alex Pietrangelo five minutes into the third period to get the game to overtime.
Pietrangelo said he did not think the first 40 minutes of the game was a case of the Blues overestimating the Coyotes despite their record, which fell to 2-13-3.
“I just don’t think we played the way we needed to play,” Pietrangelo said. “They came hard and we knew they were going to come hard. We just didn’t make the plays we needed to make.”
After a lackluster scoreless first period, Joel Edmundson gave the Blues the lead at 5:14 of the second period, converting a pass from Chris Thorburn for his fifth goal of the season.
Brayden Perlini tied the game four minutes later, and scored his second goal of the game on a power-play with 1:19 left in the period to put the Coyotes 20 minutes away from their first regulation win of the season. Perlini had scored two goals in his first 11 games this season.
“I haven’t scored in a couple of weeks so especially to do it against one of the best teams in the league,” Perlini said. “Anyway I can help the team is obviously a good thing. I think we played a pretty decent game.”
In the Blues locker room after the second period, Yeo had a message for his team about what they needed to do to mount a comeback.
“We just got refocused,” Yeo said. “The second period we weren’t good. We stopped doing the things we needed to do, credit to them. What good teams can do is they can have a period when they are not on top of things and they can find their game and I thought we did that in the third period.
“I just basically said that’s not us. We kind of know what we’ve been doing and what the recipe is for us to be successful.”
Part of that recipe has been getting goals from its defensemen. The goals from Edmundson and Pietrangelo increased the team’s total to 19 goals from that unit in the team’s first 17 games.
Backup goalie Carter Hutton made his first start of the season at home for the Blues and kept his team in the game before stopping both of Arizona’s shots in the shootout, by Clayton Keller and Derek Stepan, to improve to 4-0 on the season.
The win was the 12th in a row for the Blues over the Coyotes, who have not defeated the Blues since Nov. 12, 2013. The Blues are 15-0-1 in their last 16 games against Arizona.
It also was the first win for the Blues this season when they had trailed after the second period. They are 9-1-1 in their last 11 games.
“They pushed in the second but I thought we tilted the ice in the third,” Hutton said. “We weren’t surprised. This is a really good league and they’ve got good players. When it gets to a shootout anything can happen can we came out of the winning end of it.”
Arizona coach Rick Tocchet took a lot of positives out of the game for his team, even if they did not get the victory.
“It was a good effort,” said Tocchet, whose team was playing its third game in four nights. “We were a little bit on fumes and that’s a good hockey club over there. To be in it right to the end I thought the guys did a nice job.”
NOTES: Thursday night’s game was the sixth matchup between C Brayden Schenn of the Blues and his brother D Luke Schenn of the Coyotes in their NHL careers. Brayden has come out on the winning side of all six games. The brothers also were teammates with the Flyers for three years. ... LW Anthony Duclair returned to the Coyotes lineup after being a healthy scratch for five of the previous six games. ... The Blues will be home against the New York Islanders on Saturday night while the Coyotes will host the Winnipeg Jets.