The St. Louis Blues will try to extend their nerve-wracking surge when they host the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night.
The Blues have won five overtime games during their current seven-game winning streak. They have built a 12-3-3 record with a slim plus-6 goal differential this season.
Meanwhile, the Coyotes snapped a three-game winless streak with a 4-3 shootout victory over the host Washington Capitals on Monday night.
“Every game is going to be tough,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “Arizona is coming in here, it’s going to be a hard game. They’re a good team. They’re fast.
“There’s no easy nights. Our guys are starting to really understand that. You have to give it all every night and play consistent hockey, and they’ve been doing that.”
The Blues are 7-1-0 since Vladimir Tarasenko sustained a left shoulder injury that is expected to sideline him for at least five months. They are also missing forward Alexander Steen, who is out at least a month with a left ankle sprain.
“We’re finding ways right now,” St. Louis forward Brayden Schenn said. “We still feel we can get better as a team and keep growing as a team, especially with a few key pieces being out and guys a really stepping up.”
Goaltender Jordan Binnington is 7-1-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage in his past eight games.
In St. Louis’ past seven games, Ryan O’Reilly has four goals and seven assists and linemate David Perron has three goals and seven assists.
The Coyotes, meanwhile, are in a tough stretch of three games in four nights. Since Antti Raanta started Monday night, Darcy Kuemper is likely to be in goal against the Blues at Enterprise Center.
Kuemper lost his last two starts while allowing seven goals on 57 shots. He was 1-1-0 with a 2.50 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage in two starts against the Blues last season.
Forward Clayton Keller has a goal and six assists in eight career games against his hometown Blues.
The Coyotes got forward Brad Richardson (upper body) back Saturday and defenseman Jason Demers (lower body) back Monday from the injured list.
Arizona coach Rick Tocchet stressed the need to close out games. The Coyotes have blown leads in the second period or later in five consecutive games.
“We’re still fine,” Tocchet said Saturday. “We’ve still got a half-decent record. But we’re … (tossing) points away when we shouldn’t. You want to have these points in the bank if something really bad happens, like a bunch of injuries or we’re on this tough trip or a tough schedule, whatever.
“It’s nice to have those points in the bank, and we’re just giving them away because of unfocused plays.”
Sure enough, the Capitals raced to a 3-0 lead Monday before allowing the Capitals to storm back to force overtime, then the shootout.
Another Coyotes problem is the power-play, where they are 0-for-16 in their past five games.
“Somebody has got to take the puck to the middle and shoot the puck,” Tocchet said. “We keep deferring all the time, and then when we do shoot, we shoot it wide and nobody is in front of the net.”
–Field Level Media