Can Blues recover from rough injury news?
The Blues registered a big victory fewer than 24 hours ago, but they may have paid an uncommonly steep price for it.
In the course of last night’s 5-1 rout of Colorado, forward David Backes and goaltender Jake Allen both exited with lower-body injuries. The extent of the maladies is just beginning to become a bit clearer. Each will at least the rest of the regular season, as revealed by head coach Ken Hitchcock following today’s skate.
The loss of a captain, plus one-half of one of the NHL’s finest goaltending tandems, would threaten to send any team careening. Trailing first-place Dallas by just two points in the Central Division, however, St. Louis can’t afford to dwell on roster losses.
There’s also the matter of this evening’s opponent. Arizona arrives at Scottrade Center for an 8 p.m. ET puck drop, and oddsmakers at online sports book BetDSI still give the host squad odds of -235 come out on top.
Arizona, with a money line of +195 to play spoiler on the road, has won four of its last six games overall after winning just four times in its previous 15 tilts. The main reason: Mike Smith’s resurgence in net. He’s 5-2 with a 1.29 GAA and two shutouts in his last seven contests.
The Blues counter with Allen’s sidekick, Brian Elliott, who is 9-0-0 with a 1.92 GAA in his last 11 appearances. He’ll be charged with making matters even more difficult on Arizona’s feeble offense, which is averaging a league-worst 1.7 goals on the road.
St. Louis is four points ahead of Chicago for home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs, but the Coyotes clearly remain invested in the remainder of the campaign. This one has low-scoring duel written all over it.
MONDAY NHL FREE PICK: COYOTES/BLUES UNDER 5 GOALS