The St. Louis Blues are desperate for a win, but a victory might be hard to come by against the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Blues will try to end their recent struggles against the Coyotes as the teams meet for the second time this week Thursday in St. Louis.
The Blues (28-25-10) are 1-7-1 in their last nine games against the Coyotes (32-27-5) and lost five straight at home. St. Louis has been outscored 7-3 in three meetings this season, including Sunday's 2-0 defeat.
Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov entered the game 0-2-0 with a 6.91 goals-against average against the Blues, but stopped 35 shots for his second shutout of the season. Mikael Tellqvist started the first two games, which came before the Coyotes claimed Bryzgalov off waivers.
"It was one of the best games I've seen him play, and he's played some good ones here," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said of Bryzgalov.
|The Blues are desperate to end their recent struggles against the Coyotes, who they are just 1-7-1 against in their last nine games. St. Louis will play host to Phoenix tonight. (AP Photo/Roy Dabner)
St. Louis goalie Manny Legace, meanwhile, fell to 0-5-1 with a 3.35 goals-against average in his last six starts against the Coyotes. He was 6-1-0 with two ties in his first 10 appearances against them.
Legace made 18 saves Tuesday, when the Blues fell 3-1 to Dallas. He has started each game during St. Louis' four-game losing streak, yielding 11 goals.
The Blues, meanwhile, have managed only three goals on 113 shots while going 0-3-1 over their last four. Keith Tkachuk had the lone goal Tuesday for St. Louis, which scored 10 goals in its two games before the current slide.
"We've had 113 shots, and we have three goals to show for it," coach Andy Murray said. "It's frustrating. It's disappointing."
St. Louis is tied with Chicago for 12th place in the Western Conference, but just six points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
The Blues made two deals at Tuesday's trade deadline, sending defenseman Bryce Salvador to New Jersey for right wing Cam Janssen and dealing defenseman Christian Backman to the New York Rangers for a 2008 fourth-round draft pick. The Blues signed defenseman Barret Jackman to a four-year, $14.4 million contract on Monday night.
Team president John Davidson said Janssen will play in this game and be used in an enforcer role.
Bryzgalov made 24 saves Wednesday, but the Coyotes lost 1-0 in Chicago for their third defeat in four games. Phoenix is in 10th place in the West, three points out of a playoff spot.
"I think both teams played well, at the same level," Bryzgalov said. "They scored a lucky, ugly goal and we didn't. That was the difference."
Marcel Hossa, acquired in a Tuesday trade along with minor league goaltender Al Montoya for right wing Fredrik Sjostrom and a pair of minor leaguers, made his Coyotes debut. He had a shot in the third period that deflected off the skate of defenseman James Wisniewski and tapped the right post.
"They played hard, and one goal is the difference," Gretzky said. "When we did get some chances, their goaltender was really good. When they got chances, our guy was good."