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At the Rink blog

Miller, Ott to make Blues debuts vs. Coyotes

Sunday, 03.02.2014 / 6:01 PM

By Jerry Brown - NHL.com Correspondent / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

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2013-2014 At the Rink Blog
Miller, Ott to make Blues debuts vs. Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Ryan Miller is 6-1-1 lifetime against the Phoenix Coyotes with a 1.15 goals-against average. He's already beaten them twice this season and that was with the struggling Buffalo Sabres.

Miller and veteran Steve Ott make their respective debuts with the St. Louis Blues on Sunday and Miller will again face the Coyotes. But he's going to need a little help from his new teammates to complete the hat trick against Phoenix.

The Blues weren't shut out for the first 57 games of the regular season, but back-to-back 1-0 losses to the Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks coming out of the break have them searching for offense.

St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock, however, isn't looking to change much other than a little luck.

"I think the concern for us is getting a reward for playing well," he said. "We've come out of the gate and played two really good hockey games and got no reward for it. I think we want to start getting a reward."

The Blues had 75 scoring attempts in their 1-0 loss against the Ducks on Friday. They had 18 shots on net, 27 that were blocked and 30 that missed the net, so 57 of 75 shots never reached their destination.

"It's the little things," Hitchcock said. "We've been trying to shoot to score from too far out rather than shoot for second opportunities. That's where we get all of our goals. We're pressing, missing the net and trying to chase it down.

"But it's hard to complain about the way we're competing right now. You have to be careful, because if you start picking apart some of the things we're doing, we'll get discouraged to easily. We have to stick with it."

Ott will start on the second line with Derek Roy and T.J. Oshie for the Blues. Although Ott has had a lot of power-play success this season – six of his nine goals in Buffalo came on special teams – Hitchcock said Ott will stick to 5-on-5 with some penalty killing to start with St. Louis.

The Coyotes have one point in their two post-Olympic games. Phoenix coach Dave Tippett juggled his lineup, scratching forward Brandon McDonald and adding more grit with Paul Bissonnette against the Blues.

Here are the projected lineups:

BLUES

Jaden Schwartz - David Backes - Alexander Steen

Steve Ott - Derek Roy - T.J. Oshie

Magnus Paajarvi - Patrik BerglundVladimir Tarasenko

Brenden Morrow - Maxim Lapierre - Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk

Carlo Colaiacovo - Roman Polak

Ryan Miller

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Dmitrij Jaskin, Ian Cole

Injured: Vladimir Sobotka (knee), Jordan Leopold (ankle)

COYOTES

Shane Doan- Antoine Vermette - Mikkel Boedker

Rob Klinkhammer - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Lauri Korpikoski- Mike Ribeiro - David Moss

Kyle Chipchura - Jeff Halpern - Paul Bissonnette

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Zbynek Michalek

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris

David Schlemko - Michael Stone

Mike Smith

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Chris Summers, Brandon McMillan

Quote of the Day

What we expected is what we got. Very mature young individual that's focused. He is on the right track. He's not only a great hockey individual, but he's a good person off the ice. He seemed to take a leadership role with this group right off the hop and ran away with it, and was vocal, was respectful, was everything it takes to be a Panther. His future looks bright.

— Florida Panthers director of player development Brian Skrudland on defenseman Aaron Ekblad's performance at development camp