Blues vs Yotes Preview
LIVE ON TV: NBCSN (HD), TSN2
Last 10: Phoenix 6-2-2; St. Louis 3-3-4
Season Series: Fourth and final meeting. The Blues are aiming for a sweep, having outscored the Coyotes 11-3 in the first three matchups. However, two of those games were started by Phoenix backup goalie Jason LaBarbera.
Big Story: There's little doubt who will be in net Friday with Phoenix fighting for the Pacific Division title and No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. Mike Smith is set to aim for his fourth consecutive shutout, having already put together a streak of nearly 220 scoreless minutes. He also set an NHL record in his last start for most saves made in a shutout performance, stopping 54 shots by Columbus in a 2-0 win.
Coyotes: As brilliant as Smith was during the 11-0-1 run Phoenix put together during the month of February, he's been even better at a time in the season when the Coyotes could easily be on the outside looking in without a big save at a key moment in several recent games. Thirty-nine saves is often enough to earn a goalie the game's No. 1 star -- Smith faced that many pucks in the first two periods alone against the Blue Jackets on Tuesday and got them all. Boyd Gordon and Gilbert Brule scored 2:03 apart in the second and Smith finished off his eighth shutout of the season, tying the franchise record.
"It was great that this run came at home and everyone could share in it," said Smith, who had the Jobing.com Arena crowd chanting his name in the third period. "It's been an honor to play in front of our fans and fun to play in the desert this year. Now we'll take it on the road and see what happens."
Blues: Speaking of red-hot goalies going for a fourth straight shutout, that's what St. Louis netminder Brian Elliott had in mind Wednesday against Detroit, and he got most of the way there. The game was scoreless entering the third period and the Blues built a 2-0 lead as David Perron lit the lamp shorthanded at 7:18 and Andy McDonald added a goal 3:01 later. Elliott was just over six minutes from blanking the Red Wings, but Johan Franzen scored twice in a span of 2:15 to force overtime, and Detroit went on to defeat St. Louis 3-2 in a shootout, the 10th time this season the Blues have lost in the penalty-shot tiebreaker.
"We got away from checking and limiting their chances in the offensive zone," forward T.J. Oshie said of Detroit. "Obviously they're going to get them, they're a great team. They have some high-end skill on their team, but we can't be giving up goals like we did.
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Last edited by h22prelude93: 04-06-2012 at 02:01 PM.
If the Blues win tonight, the Presidents' Cup and #1 seed in the West will come down to the last game for each of NYR, Vancouver and the Blues. Makes that last game of the season pretty interesting. I'd also love to beat the Canucks in the standings.
The Blues have the least regulation losses of any team in the league.
Think I saw yesterday on the NHL Network that Bolduc was sent down the the AHL affiliate. Not that it really matters. Go Blues! First game all season I won't get to watch . Potential first round preview if things stand the way they are right now.
Edit: I lied. Sharks passed the Yotes for seventh spot with their win last night. So things need to change for this to be a first round preview. Still could happen though. LGB.
Unless I've missed something, Doan, Vrbata and Aucoin should all be in the lineup tonight.
Are any Blues being rested or held out of the game or is it full strength tonight?
Full strength. Although we have quite a few healthy scratches due to guys coming back from injuries recently, and Hitchcock still figuring out his lines. Can you pm me Phoenix' projected full line-up? And then I can update it. Thanks
If the Blues win tonight, the Presidents' Cup and #1 seed in the West will come down to the last game for each of NYR, Vancouver and the Blues. Makes that last game of the season pretty interesting.
When the Blues won the President's Trophy a decade ago, didn't they present it to the team on the ice after the final regular season game? I don't know if they still do that, but if they do it'd be awfully difficult to have the trophy in three places at once with three potential winners all finishing up on the same day...