The Phoenix Coyotes and the St. Louis Blues each picked up a point their last time out. If they want to make a serious playoff push, though, they’ll need to start earning two points when they take the ice.
The Coyotes look to continue their recent dominance over the visiting Blues when they meet on Sunday.
The Coyotes (31-26-5) haven’t made the playoffs since 2002, and weren’t considered to be much of a contender in the Western Conference this season. With just over a month to go in the regular season, however, they are not far off the pace for the final playoff spot in the West.
On Friday, Phoenix lost to Colorado 3-2 in a 12-round shootout - the longest in franchise history - to drop its second straight after a three-game winning streak.
The Coyotes managed to pick up a point, though, as Derek Morris’ goal with 2.8 seconds left in regulation forced overtime.
“It’s huge that we were able to get that extra point,” said right wing Shane Doan, who has two goals and seven assists during a six-game point streak. “We were talking about how desperate we have to be and we came out with a little more desperation.”
Backup goaltender Mikael Tellqvist had 27 saves on Friday, and stopped another nine in the shootout. Tellqvist, who is 4-1-1 with a 1.96 goals-against average in his last six starts, has been in net for each of the Coyotes two games against the Blues this season, going 2-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA. He has won all three of his career starts against St. Louis, posting a 2.28 GAA in those contests.
Phoenix has had no trouble picking up two points against the Blues (28-23-10) lately, winning seven of the last eight meetings. The Coyotes beat St. Louis 3-2 in the season opener for both teams on Oct. 4, and defeated the Blues 2-1 on Oct. 30.
Phoenix starting goalie Ilya Bryzgalov is 2-4-2 with a 2.90 GAA since Jan. 30, and has had no success in his career against the Blues, going 0-2-0 with a 6.91 GAA.
St. Louis hasn’t made the playoffs since 2004 after 25 straight postseason trips, but is also in the mix for a playoff berth in the West.
The Blues are coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to Anaheim on Friday, their second straight after going 4-0-1 in their previous five.
Ryan Johnson gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead 2:17 into the third period, but the Ducks tied the score just two minutes later and won 32 seconds into overtime.
“We knew it was going to be a game where we had to play well defensively and that Manny (Legace) would have to be good for us and he was,” Blues coach Andy Murray said.
Legace had 27 saves after yielding four goals on 19 shots and being pulled in the second period of Thursday’s 5-1 loss at Los Angeles. The All-Star goalie has played in 19 consecutive games for St. Louis, going 6-6-5 with a 2.67 GAA and one shutout in those contests.
Legace has struggled against the Coyotes, losing five straight versus them and posting a 3.60 GAA in those outings. He is 6-5-1 with two ties, one shutout and a 2.34 GAA lifetime against Phoenix.
St. Louis center Keith Tkachuk, who played for the Phoenix franchise from 1991-2000, has a goal and two assists against his former team this season.