Blues open homestand vs. slumping Coyotes

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:52 AM

COYOTES (21-15-9) at BLUES (31-8-5)


Last 10: Phoenix 2-5-3; St. Louis 8-1-1.

Season series: This is the second of three games between the Phoenix Coyotes and St. Louis Blues. An overtime goal by Oliver Ekman-Larsson lifted Phoenix to a 3-2 victory at Scottrade Center on Nov. 12.

Big story: Blues forward Alexander Steen, who has missed nine games with a concussion, practiced Monday for the first time since he sustained the injury during a game against the Edmonton Oilers on Dec. 21.

Steen is tied for fifth in the NHL in goals with 24 and still leads the Blues with 38 points. St. Louis has gone 7-1-1 without him; the Blues had a seven-game winning streak snapped in a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Friday.

"Good ... better," he said when asked about his health. "Obviously, hanging around the guys again is a big lift in spirits. With these kinds of injuries you tend to fall away from the team, spend time on your own. That's usually the hardest part of having an injury like this. But I'm staying positive, taking steps forward, and enjoying my time with the team [Monday] and the rest of the week.

"Just feeling better, so I figured I'd try [to practice]. Basically, just try stuff and analyze and see how you feel and go from there."

No date has been set for Steen's return. He is not expected to play Tuesday, although he did take shifts on the Blues' top line with David Backes, T.J. Oshie and Jaden Schwartz.

"Even if you don't see me out there [Tuesday], it's not the end of the world," Steen said. "It's not like I sat at home … completely crushed. It's just another day, and you're looking at the all-around and long-term plan to get me back."

Team Scope:

Coyotes: The woes continued for Phoenix on Monday, when they suffered a 5-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Ekman-Larsson gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead midway through the first period before they went on to allow five unanswered goals en route to their third straight loss and 11th in 14 games (3-7-4).

"We're talked-out here," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said after his team's most-recent setback. "I've had more meetings than you can shake a stick at. It's about doing now, and we'll see who can do it."

Blues: Tuesday marks the beginning of a three-game homestand for St. Louis, which has won four straight and five of its past six games at Scottrade Center. Overall, the Blues are 17-3-2 at home and sit three points behind the Chicago Blackhawks for the Central Division lead.

The Blues could have defenseman Roman Polak back in the lineup against the Coyotes. Polak has missed the past 10 games with an ankle injury. He practiced Monday and will be re-evaluated Tuesday morning. When he returns, the Blues will have eight healthy defensemen.

"I think I'm pretty close," Polak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I think I have the green light to go. I don't know when ... if it's going to be tomorrow, the day after. I'm going to do whatever I can to get back in the lineup, and we'll see what the coaches decide."

Who's hot: Phoenix forward Mikkel Boedker had an assist Monday. He has earned a point in four of his past five games (three goals, three assists). … Blues forward Patrik Berglund has four goals and an assist in the past four games.

Injury report: Phoenix defenseman Zbynek Michalek (lower body) is on injured reserve. … Blues center Maxim Lapierre did not practice Monday after sustaining what appeared to be a lower-body injury at Vancouver on Friday. His status for Tuesday is uncertain.

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