Coyotes vs. Blues Preview
The clubs hope to break out Monday night when the Blues try to end a three-game slide in a home matchup with the Coyotes.
St. Louis (20-14-6) and Phoenix (19-13-9) are among three Western Conference teams that have yet to score with the man advantage in 2011. The Blues are 0 for 9 in three games while the Coyotes are in an 0-for-14 drought dating to Dec. 31.
Both teams are near the bottom of the league in power-play percentage, with St. Louis at 14.9 and Phoenix at 16.0.
The Blues turned in their second-worst performance on the power play this season Saturday, going 0 for 6 in a 2-1 home loss to the Rangers.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGlobal.com have made the Blues -142 money line favorites for Monday's game against the Coyotes. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 70% of more than 95 bets for this game have been placed on the Blues -142.
"The power play has to be better," coach Davis Payne said. "You can't just have momentum-building power plays. We have to find a way to have four or five great power plays that end up in the back of the net at least a time or two, especially in a close, one-goal hockey game."
The Coyotes went 0 for 4 in a 2-1 overtime loss to Buffalo on Saturday. They have lost all six games decided in overtime and have won two of five shootouts.
It's a far cry from Phoenix's 107-point season in 2009-10, when it won five of six in overtime and prevailed in 14 of 20 shootouts.
"(Last year) we had some games that just were falling our way and this year, they're going against the odds," coach Dave Tippett said. "Last year, we were winning overtime games and were winning shootouts. ... Those are valuable points, those are hard to give up."
Phoenix had a season-high three power-play goals in a 5-3 home victory over St. Louis on Nov. 13. Ray Whitney recorded a hat trick and matched his career high with five points.
The Blues evened the season series with a 4-3 home win Dec. 31, although they nearly blew a four-goal lead in the third period.
Ilya Bryzgalov started both games for Phoenix, and he's gone 3-6-1 with a 3.21 goals-against average in his last 10 starts against St. Louis.
Bryzgalov, though, was out Saturday with flu-like symptoms. Jason LaBarbera filled in and made 30 saves.
"I didn't know until right before our meeting at 4:30 so that's about 40 minutes before warmups," said LaBarbera, 2-2-0 with a 3.03 GAA in four career starts against the Blues. "It's funny, you come to the rink and you've got to do a complete 180."
Jaroslav Halak made 30 saves in his lone career start against the Coyotes in last month's victory. Backup Ty Conklin is 1-3-0 with a 3.27 GAA in four career games against them.
Phoenix captain Shane Doan's eight-game point streak ended Saturday. He had six goals and seven assists during that span.
The Blues, 0-2-1 in their last three, and trying to avoid losing three straight at home for the first time since a five-game skid Dec. 18, 2009-Jan. 2, 2010.