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Stingy defenses set to meet in St. Louis

by Tal Pinchevsky

COYOTES (13-10-3) at BLUES (14-10-2)

TV: FS-Arizona+, FS-Midwest

Last 10: Phoenix 5-4-1, St. Louis 5-4-1

Season series: This is the second of three matchups this season between two teams that will wrap up their season series in St. Louis on April 18. Just last week, the Blues topped the Coyotes 6-3 in Glendale, with Chris Stewart registering a goal and three assists in the win. St. Louis went 3-1-0 against Phoenix last season.

Big story: Two of the League's stingiest defenses appeared to be springing leaks lately, but the Coyotes are coming off two impressive division wins while the Blues may have momentarily recaptured their early-season form despite a slate of injuries.

Team Scope:

Coyotes: With the Coyotes embarking on a crucial four-game road swing that will end with back-to-back contests against the Kings at Staples Center, they wrapped up a modest three-game homestand with an impressive performance against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Following a 2-1 win against Dallas on Saturday, the Coyotes hosted the Kings on Tuesday night at Arena. In an important Pacific Division matchup, the Coyotes came out flying, eventually opening the scoring midway through the opening period when Mikkel Boedker took a perfect pass from Raffi Torres before firing a wrister past Jonathan Quick. Boedker would earn his second of the game on the power play early in the second period, part of four unanswered goals the Coyotes scored to begin the contest.

Mike Richards and Dustin Brown would reply, both with the man advantage, to cut into the lead, but Rob Klinkhammer scored midway through the final frame to wrap up the 5-2 Coyotes win.

Blues: After going 2-3-0 on their recent season-long five-game road trip, the Blues hosted San Jose on Tuesday night to play the Sharks for the second time in three days. After pulling out a 4-3 overtime victory in San Jose on Saturday, the Blues wanted to be sure they wouldn't require extra time to knock off the Sharks this time around.

Stewart opened the scoring in the latter half of the opening period and David Perron and Chris Porter sandwiched a Brent Burns goal for San Jose in the second to put the Blues firmly in control. Chris Stewart sealed the 4-2 victory with an empty-net goal and Jake Allen gave his finest performance of the season, stopping 39 of 41 shots for the win.

"He played a tremendous game," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said of Allen, who also beat San Jose on Saturday. "Your goaltending has to do that for you throughout the season. He's got to be able to steal games."

Who's hot: Coyotes captain Shane Doan has scored in each of his last three games and five of his last seven contests. David Moss has five points in his last six games while Keith Yandle has five points in his last seven games. … For the Blues, Stewart and Alex Pietrangelo have been on fire, registering nine and six points respectively in their last five games. Patrik Berglund has six points in his current five-game point streak.

Injury report: Defenseman Zbynek Michalek (ankle) and forward Matthew Lombardi (lower body) are both unlikely to play Thursday while forwards Radim Vrbata (foot) and David Schlemko (shoulder) are on injured reserve. … With wing T.J. Oshie now questionable with an upper-body injury, the Blues are suffering with a slew of injuries to their forwards as Alex Steen (upper body), Vladimir Tarasenko (concussion), Andy McDonald (knee) and Jamie Langenbrunner (hip surgery) are all on IR.

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