Gameday: Blues vs. Coyotes

Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) makes a sprawling save against Coyotes forward Christian Fischer (36). (Photo courtesy: Scott Rovak, Getty Images)

2/20: Blues/Coyotes, Enterprise Center, 7pm CT – FSMW, ESPN 101.1

ST. LOUIS – After getting their first win in two weeks, the St. Louis Blues (33-17-10) hope to start a win streak against the Arizona Coyotes (30-25-8). St. Louis snapped a 5-game winless streak with a 3-0 shutout win against the New Jersey Devils. Goaltender Louis Domingue had his best performance of the season, but Ivan Barbashev managed to crack him twice, and Jaden Schwartz scored late in the third. Jordan Binnington made 17 saves for his second shutout of the year.

“No. 1, it feels good to be back in the win column as a team,” Binnington said. “I think it’s important that we went through that and continued to believe in ourselves and grow and stick to the plan and just stay calm. It’s a great 60-minute game by us tonight. Hopefully we can continue that going forward.”

The Blues retained 1st in the Central division, tied for points with the Dallas Stars (76), who beat the Coyotes yesterday 3-2. Roope Hintz drilled Nick Schmaltz into the boards, and Jamie Benn exploded into Oliver Ekman-Larsson minutes later and was ejected for it. Arizona scored on a major penalty and netted two in the second to tie it, but Jamie Oleksiak buried the game winner on a bar-down slapshot.

“I thought we had a good pushback in the second half of the first period and had 21 shots in that first period,” Coyotes goalie Adin Hill said. “We have to find a way to win the game.”

It was the Coyote’s 13th loss in 18 games, where they’ve gone 5-9-4 since January 9. Darcy Kuemper, who had an incredible start to the season remains on the IR, with his status for tonight’s start unlikely. Despite that, the ‘Yotes are knee-deep in the Pacific division playoff race, and are 6-1-1 against the Blues since 2017. They’ve snapped both of St. Louis’s 7+ game win streaks this season and could close out the season series with a sweep.

The Blues and Coyotes play in Enterprise Center tonight for the final time this season. The Blues play at 7pm CT on Fox Sports Midwest and on ESPN 101.1 FM.

Marco Scandella Arrives in St. Louis

Despite the grumblings of a bad trade, no one was more ecstatic to play for the St. Louis Blues than newest defenseman Marco Scandella, who had his first interviews with St. Louis media following an optional Wednesday practice.

“I’m absolutely excited to come to St. Louis,” Scandella said after Wednesday’s optional practice. “Stanley Cup champs, what a city, what an organization. I played two playoff series against this team (with the Minnesota Wild) – (they’re a) tenacious, hard-working team. To bring my energy, bring my game to this team, it’s going to be really exciting for me.”

“I know what I have to do to be successful,” Scandella continued. “Play a really good defensive game, help with the PK. I’m going to do whatever I’m asked to do here, and just do it with a smile on my face because I’m just happy to be here.”

Scandella is expected to play tonight in St. Louis against the Coyotes, alongside Colton Parayko.

Trade Deadline Snowballs

The first phase of the trade deadline finally kicked in this week, with defensemen getting shipped left and right around the league. Alec Martinez and Brenden Dillon were two of the hottest commodities as the deadline approaches, but even defensemen like Dylan DeMelo and Devils captain Andy Greene were shipped from their respective clubs as well.

The Blues had their hand in as well on Tuesday – St. Louis traded a 2020 2nd round pick and a conditional 2021 4th round pick for defenseman Marco Scandella of the Montreal Canadiens. It was a total steal for the Canadiens, but it still helped the Blues address the sudden absence of Jay Bouwmeester. Scandella will also serve as a smaller cap hit than Jay Bouwmeester, as the Canadiens retain 50% of his $4 million dollar contract.

The Blues could still be on the lookout for a top 6 forward like Chris Kreider, Kyle Palmieri or even Mike Hoffman, but GM Doug Armstrong said the situation was dependent of the status of superstar forward Vladimir Tarasenko.

“He’s training well, skating in our morning skates. There’s no new update on a timeline, but things are moving positive in that fashion. With the addition of Marco, I would say we’re going to assess the trade market between now and Monday, but with the [NHL salary cap] situation, with [long-term injured reserve for defenseman Jay Bouwmeester], with a lot of the math equation that goes in, any deal I would say going forward is going to be strictly a hockey trade, which are very rare this time of year.”

Blue Notes

Ryan O’Reilly has eight points in his last eight games (1G, 7A)… Ivan Barbashev’s 2-goal game was the third multi-goal game of his career… David Perron is without a goal in 8 straight games, a career-worst

PROJECTED LINEUP

FORWARDS

Schwartz – O’Reilly – Schenn

Sanford – Thomas – Perron

Steen – Bozak – Kyrou

Barbashev – Sundqvist – Blais

DEFENSE

Gunnarsson – Pietrangelo

Scandella – Parayko

Dunn – Faulk

IN GOAL

Binnington

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