GLENDALE Youth M.J. Stewart Jersey , Ariz. — Every NHL team seemingly wanted to face the Arizona Coyotes when the season began. As the schedule winds down, they are the team no playoff contender is eager to go against.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, who have led the Eastern Conference most of the season, discovered that during a 4-1 loss to Arizona on Monday. The Vegas Golden Knights, who have led the Western Conference much of the season, discovered that during a 3-2 loss to Arizona on Wednesday.
The St. Louis Blues, already a loser to Arizona this season, are hoping they don’t meet the same fate as the Lightning and Golden Knights when they play the suddenly dangerous Coyotes on Saturday night at Gila River Arena, in a game critical to St. Louis’ playoff hopes.
The Blues (43-28-6) had won six in a row until losing at Vegas 4-3 in overtime on Friday night, a loss that gained them a valuable point but dropped them a point behind the Anaheim Ducks for the top Western Conference wild card.
Jonathan Marchessault scored twice for Vegas, including the game-winner only 22 seconds into overtime. The Ducks moved past St. Louis Jaire Alexander Jersey Packers , 93 points to 92, by beating the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 in overtime.
Arizona (27-40-11) stumbled during a 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday as Jeff Carter scored three goals. It concluded a road trip in which the Coyotes won three of six, but they’re proving to be a very difficult opponent as the playoff races wrap up.
Certainly, much more so than back in October, November and December, when the Coyotes were winless through 11 games (0-10-1) and they won only nine of their first 41.
“Unfortunately, we came up a little bit short (in Los Angeles), but we’ll take the positives and get ready to go for St. Louis,” said left winger Max Domi, who had a goal and an assist against the Kings. “It was a good test for us and a really good learning experience, too Cheap New York Giants Hoodie , and we’ll take that and move forward. We’ve got four games left and, hopefully, we can make the most of those.”
The Coyotes are 18-13-6 since midseason, and 15-8-2 in their last 25 games. It’s not exactly a Presidents’ Trophy-level pace, but certainly much better than midseason, when they were threatening to put together one of the NHL’s worst seasons in decades.
“I’m proud of this team,” first-year coach Rick Tocchet said. “We had a good road trip and the guys played hard.”
The Coyotes are getting production from Kevin Connauton, who scored in Los Angeles and has three goals in two games, and rookie center Clayton Keller, who had a 10-game scoring streak stopped against the Kings. He has three goals and seven points in his last five games, and 23 goals and 62 points overall.
The Blues beat the Coyotes 3-2 in a shootout on Nov. 9 but lost to them 5-2 on Jan. 20. They had won eight of nine before Friday Ryan Switzer Jersey Raiders , including key wins over the Kings and the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins.
“It was a typical Western Conference game, just heavy sticks, just heavy bodies and two teams just slugging it out,” said right winger Chris Thorburn, who scored his first goal with St. Louis.
Of those six consecutive Blues wins, four came in overtime, including three in a row from March 17-21 against the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks and Bruins.
Brayden Schenn leads them with 65 points, including 26 goals, while Vladimir Tarasenko has a team-high 31 goals to go with 63 points.
Their late-season surge pushed the Blues from 11th place in the Western Conference on March 16 into a wild-card slot, and they now control their own playoff destiny rather than having to rely on other teams.
“Certainly Youth Atlanta Falcons Hats , the picture’s a little bit clearer right now,” Blues coach Mike Yeo said.
However, playing the Knights and Coyotes on back-to-back nights in the desert is proving to be quite a challenge down the stretch. And the Blues’ schedule isn’t easy, with six games in nine days counting the Vegas game, and three more on the road.
St. Louis is 12-9-2 against the Pacific Division.
“What we do beyond this (is) really going to count,” Yeo said.
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