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Preview: Blues at Coyotes

St. Louis looks to gain in Central Division race; forward Shane Doan out for Arizona

by Jerry Brown / Correspondent

BLUES (37-28-5) at COYOTES (26-35-9)

9 p.m. ET; FS-A, FS-MW, NHL.TV


Blues team scope

The St. Louis Blues are 6-1-0 in their past seven games and 13-7-0 since Mike Yeo replaced Ken Hitchcock as coach Feb. 1. They hold the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference, four points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings. St. Louis has moved to within two points of the Nashville Predators for third place in the Central Division. The Blues have 12 games remaining, including three each against the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche, the bottom two teams in the conference. Two of their final 12 games are against teams holding a playoff spot. "Definitely, you can't let up," goaltender Carter Hutton told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday. "It's still the [National Hockey League]. Every team can win. There are a lot of good players on those teams that aren't playoff contenders. We know Arizona is a team that can beat anybody. They just beat [the Los Angeles Kings] in a shootout." Forward Vladimir Tarasenko leads the Blues in goal-scoring and is third in the NHL with 34, including two in a 4-1 win against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. Hutton got the win at San Jose but Jake Allen, who has allowed seven goals in winning four of his past five games, is expected to start.


Coyotes team scope

Arizona Coyotes forward Shane Doan will miss the game because of a lower-body injury, sustained in the second period of a 5-4 shootout loss against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday and is day to day. It will be the first game the Coyotes captain will miss this season; this marks the 16th time in the past 17 seasons that Doan, 40, has played at least 70 games. He is expected to join Arizona for its five-game road trip that begins Monday at the Nashville Predators. Defenseman Luke Schenn, who left the game against Detroit after going head-first into the boards in the third period, practiced Friday and will play. Goaltender Mike Smith is expected to start. Smith has struggled against the Blues in his career; he's 4-12-0 with a 3.58 goals-against-average and .882 save percentage. Arizona had its three-game winning streak end against the Red Wings, but they have a point in five straight games (3-0-2) and six of their past seven (4-1-2). Coach Dave Tippett is pleased with the strong play of rookie defenseman Jakob Chychrun and rookie forward Lawson Crouse. Chychrun, 18, has 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) this season, including two goals and three assists in his past four games. "We didn't think guys like Chychrun and Crouse would be players on our team this year, but they came in a played so well," Tippett said, "and they are physically mature guys with a willingness to learn. Now we are seeing the results of giving them that opportunity." Crouse's shorthanded goal against Detroit was Arizona's seventh of the season, the most by the Coyotes since the 2007-08 season. Crouse, 19, has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 60 games this season.


Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Paul Stastny -- Vladimir Tarasenko

David Perron -- Patrik Berglund -- Alexander Steen

Zach Sanford -- Ivan Barbashev -- Magnus Paajarvi

Scottie Upshall -- Kyle Brodziak -- Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester -- Alex Pietrangelo

Joel Edmundson -- Colton Parayko

Carl Gunnarsson -- Robert Bortuzzo

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Jordan Schmaltz, Nail Yakupov

Injured: Robby Fabbri (knee), Dmitrij Jaskin (upper body), Jori Lehtera (upper body)


Coyotes projected lineup

Max Domi -- Christian Dvorak -- Radim Vrbata

Brendan Perlini -- Jordan Martinook -- Tobias Rieder

Lawson Crouse -- Josh Jooris -- Teemu Pulkkinen

Jamie McGinn -- Peter Holland -- Anthony Duclair

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Luke Schenn

Alex Goligoski -- Connor Murphy

Jakob Chychrun -- Anthony DeAngelo

Mike Smith

Louis Domingue

Scratched: None

Injured: Alexander Burmistrov (upper body), Kevin Connauton (upper body), Shane Doan (lower body), Brad Richardson (broken leg)


Status report

Pulkkinen will replace Doan on a line with Crouse and Jooris, and Duclair will returns to the lineup on a line with McGinn and Holland. … Neither the Blues nor the Coyotes held a morning skate Saturday.


Who's hot

Tarasenko has seven points (six goals, one assist) in his past six games. … Rieder has eight points (two goals, six assists) in his past eight games.

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