(AP) — The St. Louis Blues have
picked up some wins following a disappointing stretch. Finally getting
some consistent play from a goaltender has helped.
The Blues look to beat the Phoenix Coyotes for the second time in a week Thursday night.
After losing five of seven, St. Louis
(14-10-2) has won three of four, a stretch that started with a 6-3
victory at Phoenix last Thursday. Patrik Berglund scored the tying and
go-ahead goals in a 2:12 span of the second period to lead the Blues to
their fourth win in five meetings.
Rookie Jake Allen made 23 saves
against the Coyotes (13-10-3) and has won his two starts since – both
over San Jose. He stopped a season-high 39 shots in Tuesday’s 4-2
victory for St. Louis, which is a point ahead of Phoenix as they battle
for playoff positioning.
“It doesn’t matter if I get 15 shots
or 40 shots, you’ve still got to stop the puck,” Allen said. “You’ve got
to be ready for everything.”
Allen has gone 6-1-0 with a 2.54
goals-against average in his seven starts, and he’s making the most of
an opportunity for a team that came into the season seemingly set at
Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak led
the league with 15 shutouts and a 1.89 GAA in 2011-12, but Elliott has
been benched with a 3.65 GAA and the inconsistent Halak has gone 1-3-0
with a 3.46 GAA in his last four starts.
“He’s not making any flashy saves, and
we’re trying to do a decent job of keeping shots to the outside,”
defenseman Barret Jackman said of Allen. “And even when they get inside,
Jake is making the simple save and covering the rebound.”
Chris Stewart had two goals Tuesday, giving him 11 on the season and four goals and five assists in five games.
Berglund, St. Louis’ leader with 13 goals, has four along with two assists in his last five.
Those two along with linemate David
Perron have helped carry the team offensively with the second line of
Alex Steen, Andy McDonald and rookie Vladimir Tarasenko missing due to
Steen could be back Thursday but the
Blues will almost certainly be without T.J. Oshie, who suffered an
upper-body injury Tuesday.
The Coyotes are opening a season-high
four-game trip and play seven of nine away from Arizona. They’re 1-3-1
in their last five on the road.
Phoenix coach Dave Tippett knows his
team most come out with a stronger effort than it showed in the third
period against Los Angeles on Tuesday to have success during this
difficult stretch. The Coyotes entered the third leading 4-1 but were
outshot 14-8 over the final 20 minutes, though they still won 5-2.
“I didn’t like the third period. We
turned pucks over … I didn’t like the way we defended,” Tippett said.
“We can be a very good team, and when we try to make risky plays and
don’t defend well we get on our heels. That’s what happened in the third
Tippett had a meeting with left wing
Mikkel Boedker on Monday and told him to hang onto the puck more.
Boedker, with a team-high 18 points, took the advice and scored twice to
end a season high-tying six-game stretch without a goal.
“When he has the puck he can be a very dangerous player,” Tippett said.
Mike Smith got his fourth win in five
starts, with the lone loss coming against St. Louis. Since allowing a
season high-tying six goals to the Blues, he’s stopped 51 of 54 shots in