Recap: Blues at Coyotes 12.2.23

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Alex Kerfoot had a goal and two assists, and the Arizona Coyotes won their fourth in a row, 4-1 against the St. Louis Blues at Mullett Arena on Saturday.

Connor Ingram made 31 saves for the Coyotes (12-9-2). Michael Carcone, Nick Schmaltz and Matias Maccelli scored during a three-goal first period.

“That’s our best first period of the year, no doubt about it,” Arizona coach Andre Tourigny said. “With and without the puck we had urgency, we had a plan and we were focused. I really liked our first period, no doubt about it.”

Brandon Saad scored and Joel Hofer made 18 saves for the Blues (12-10-1), who lost their second in three games.

“Another game where we’ve got to stop the momentum before it ends up three [quick] goals like it did tonight,” defenseman Torey Krug said. “We had about 10 minutes there of bad hockey 10 to 15 minutes of OK hockey and 35 minutes of good hockey, but it’s not good enough.”

Arizona’s four consecutive wins were against the past five Stanley Cup champions: the Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche, Tampa Bay Lightning (2020 and 2021) and the Blues. The Coyotes play the Washington Capitals, the 2018 Cup champions, on Monday.

“We want to win games and we want to be in it, we want to be in the race for the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs,” Tourigny said. “We said at the beginning of the season we wanted to play meaningful games, so we're in a good spot. But we can’t take anything for granted, a [bad] week and you're out of it.”

Ingram started all four games in the streak, allowing a combined five goals.

“We wanted this game,” said Maccelli, a reference to two earlier Blues wins against the Coyotes. “We got away a little from what we wanted to do in the second and third [periods], but we got the job done. It’s more fun when you win and `Ingy’ has been unreal.”

Carcone’s fourth goal in three games gave Arizona a 1-0 lead 40 seconds into the game. Kerfoot retrieved the puck in the corner and fed Carcone open in the slot.

“Obviously there’s a lot of hockey left after that, but that’s tough to give up one early and then three in the first,” Blues defenseman Colton Parayko said. “That’s just the way it goes sometimes. You give up a few early, the team is hot, the goalie is hot. Credit to him, he made some good saves.”

Schmaltz made it 2-0 at 15:49 on a power play, scoring in front off Kerfoot’s backhand pass from along the goal line.

Maccelli upped it to 3-0 at 19:22 with a one-timer from the right face-off circle that went over Hofer’s left shoulder.

Jason Zucker’s apparent goal for Arizona at 6:47 of the third was overturned after video review showed he kicked the puck with his right skate.

Saad cut it to 3-1 at 9:35 of the third, scoring with a backhand shot after Oskar Sundqvist’s pass deflected off a skate to him during a scramble around the net.

“They were on their toes skating and we were a little slow in reacting,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “We didn't have good sticks on some plays, and it cost us two goals. We didn't come out skating good enough. They had the puck too much in the first period. I thought we recovered and played two good periods but have to find a way to score more goals.”

Jake Neighbours’ apparent goal for St. Louis at 18:17 of the third was overturned because video review showed the puck never crossed the goal line.

Kerfoot scored an empty-net goal at 18:45 for the 4-1 final.

NOTES: Arizona is the fourth team in NHL history and the first in nearly 90 years to win four in a row against different opponents who won the Stanley Cup the previous five seasons. The Montreal Canadiens were the last team to do so (Feb. 17-March 5, 1944, when the NHL had six teams). … St. Louis is 1-10-1 when allowing the first goal. … The Blues and Coyotes split their four-game season series. … Arizona had as many goals in the first period as the Blues did shots (3). … Coyotes forward Travis Boyd missed the game  with an upper-body injury. … Carcone, who led the American Hockey League in scoring last season, has a team-high 11 goals, with five in his past five games. … Ingram, who was claimed on waivers from the Nashville Predators on Oct. 13, 2022, is 10-3-0.