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Pre-Game Capsule: Coyotes at Blues

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

GAME 18:

Coyotes (2-13-2) at Blues (12-3-1)

Arizona will play the finale of a three-game road trip vs. the Blues on Thursday night in St. Louis.

WHERE: Scottrade Center

WHEN: 6 p.m. (AZ time)

TV: FOX Sports Arizona 

RADIO: ESPN 620 AM

Video: Matt and Tyson Preview Game vs. Blues

KEY FACTS: 

• Playing their third road game in four nights, the Coyotes will look to snap a two-game losing skid vs. one of the best home teams in the NHL. St. Louis has won six of seven games played at Scottrade Center, and the Blues outscored opponents 28-15 in those games.

• Antti Raanta is expected to start in goal for the Coyotes. Raanta is 1-3-1 this season, with a 3.11 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage. 

• Rookie Clayton Keller, who grew up in the St. Louis area, will enter his second NHL game played in his hometown ranked fourth in the NHL with 11 goals. Keller, who made his League debut in St. Louis last season after completing his freshman year at Boston University, is pacing League freshmen with 11 goals, 17 points and 58 shots.

"It's good," Keller said regarding playing in St. Louis without hoopla surrounding his NHL debut. "It (his first game) seems like forever ago, but I think now, this time around, just focus on our team and what we're trying to accomplish."

Video: Keller: 'Special' to be Home

• Rookie Dakota Mermis is expected to play his first NHL game in his hometown rink. Like Keller, Mermis is from the St. Louis area. He's played four games in the NHL since Arizona recalled him from the American Hockey League on Nov. 1. On Tuesday, Mermis played a career-high 13:55 vs. Pittsburgh.

• Luke Schenn will square off vs. his younger brother Brayden Schenn, a forward for the Blues. Once teammates with Philadelphia, the Schenn brothers have combined to play 1,110 NHL games.  

"He seems like he's fitting in here pretty well," Luke said of Brayden. "Playing with (Jaden) Schwartz and (Vladimir) Tarasenko, their line is playing great hockey right now. They do it all and help each other out. I think he gets a few goals going to the front of the net." 

Anthony Duclair is expected to be back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch for five of the past six games, including three games in a row.

• St. Louis, which ranks second in the NHL with 25 points, has won 11 straight games against Arizona and has earned at least one point in the past 15 games (14-0-1) between the teams. Forward Alexander Steen is averaging a point per game in 27 games vs. the Coyotes, and goalie Jake Allen is 7-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and a .961 save-percentage and two shutouts in seven career starts vs. Arizona/Phoenix.

Tweet from @ArizonaCoyotes: Put my name at the top of your list. pic.twitter.com/F55OzunouJ

COYOTE BITES:

• "They've got a lot of talent and the big thing that stands out is how hard they work. They've got a really hard-working group and they seem like they play a great system game, with great defensemen and great goaltending. We don't see any weaknesses over there." -- Luke Schenn on the Blues

• "This past week has been such a whirlwind, but this is a game I've had marked on the calendar since I signed with the Coyotes. Playing my first game in St. Louis in my first week in the NHL is pretty much a dream come true. It's a huge day for my family and friends. I'm really looking forward to it." -- Dakota Mermis, who grew up in Alton, Illinois, a small town near St. Louis

• "We do have a pretty good gripe. Our November, I've never seen anything like it. It's tough, but one good thing about this team is we haven't heard one excuse from the players about the schedule, which I really like." -- Rick Tocchet on team's hectic road schedule

Video: Tocchet on Tough Task vs. STL

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