After staging a spirited comeback attempt against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday, the Arizona Coyotes hope to carry that vibe into Tuesday’s home game against the St. Louis Blues.
The Coyotes rallied from a 4-2 deficit to tie the game and force overtime with the Devils at Mullett Arena.
“We had fun tonight in the third,” Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny said after his team lost 5-4. “We were really proud of ourselves, and that’s a feeling we want to have every night. Unfortunately, we didn’t win, and we want to win in front of our fans, but we fought and we take a lot of pride in that.”
The Coyotes are 1-4-1 in their last six games. The Blues are 1-5-2 in their last eight.
Both teams made significant changes ahead of the NHL trade deadline. The Coyotes are rebuilding over the long haul while the Blues hope to engineer a quicker pivot.
Arizona is going with a youth movement, relying on prospects like defenseman Victor Soderstrom, the 11th overall pick in the 2019 draft. Soderstrom has earned assists in his last two games.
“He was solid, he was assertive, he was decisive,” Tourigny said. “That’s how he needs to play every night.”
The Blues traded away key veterans Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan O’Reilly, Ivan Barbashev and Noel Acciari to add prospects and high draft picks for their retooling.
But they also picked up forward Kasperi Kapanen off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins and acquired Jakub Vrana from the Detroit Red Wings.
Kapanen scored a short-handed goal as the Blues lost 4-2 to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday in the middle of their three-game Western road trip.
“He’s just like what I thought,” Blues coach Craig Berube said of Kapanen. “He’s a smart player. He’s got good speed, makes some plays. But he’s got good awareness defensively. So far, he’s played pretty good for us.”
Kapanen has two goals in his first three games with the Blues. He had scored just seven goals in 43 games with the Penguins before hitting the waiver wire.
“It feels good to have chances,” Kapanen said. “I feel like I’m shooting the puck a little bit more. Just in general I feel better out there, so hopefully there’ll be more goals to come.”
Vrana joined the team in Los Angeles but didn’t face the Kings. He could debut with his new team Tuesday.
The Blues started the road trip with a 6-3 victory at San Jose. Then they delivered a solid effort in the loss to the Kings.
“I thought a lot of guys played a solid hockey game, competed hard,” Berube said. “It was a good game. Just a late penalty and we didn’t kill it off. That’s the game.”
These teams split their first two games this season. The Coyotes won 5-0 at home on Jan. 26 on Karel Vejmelka’s 33-save shutout.
The Blues prevailed 6-5 in overtime on Feb. 11 in St. Louis with Calle Rosen (two goals), Pavel Buchnevich (three assists), Jordan Kyrou (two assists) and Colton Parayko (two assists) having big games.
–Field Level Media