The Phoenix Coyotes came into their first game of the new year hoping to stay on track and start a new winning streak after ending their longest losing streak of the season Saturday against the Wild.
The St. Louis Blues were looking to end their worst losing streak of the season (0-2-1) against the visiting Coyotes and would with a 4-1 win Tuesday night.
Phoenix is 3-15-1 when it does not score the first goal of the game, and have been even worse when their opponent scores the first two. This was was the case Tuesday night. Christ Stewart and Jamie Langenbrunner would score their eighth and third goals of the year respectively for the Blues in the first period.
It was not until the clock started to wind down near the one minute mark of the first that the Coyotes would get on the board. Radim Vrbata put in the power-play goal set up from Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The goal put him at 19 for the season, a team-high. It was also his third goal in two games.
The Coyotes went into the first intermission down 2-1, and not much with go right for the 'Yotes after coming out from the locker room. T.J Oshie would put away a power-play goal past Smith on a rebound early in the second period and while the Coyotes would outshoot the Blues 35-31, they could not find a way to chip away at the 3-1 deficit. Patrik Berglund would add an empty net goal to make the final score 4-1.
St. Louis have now won five of the last seven against the Coyotes and improved to 15-3-2 on home ice this year.
Mike Smith was back between the pipes for the Coyotes after missing six games with a groin injury. He made 27 stops against the Blues Tuesday and is now 15-11-3 this season after the loss.
Jaroslav Halak was across the ice from Smith making the start in net for the Blues. Halak made 33 saves and improved to 5-0-3 in his last eight starts.
"January's where everybody realizes this is crunch time," defenseman Derek Morris told NHL.com. "You've got to crank it up a notch. Games are going to get quicker, they're going to get more important. ... You don't want to get behind and start chasing. Where we're at, we've got to find a way to win games now so when crunch times rolls around, you don't want to have to scrape out the last couple points because they're harder to get."
The Coyotes have four of the next five on the road and will need to find a way to get points in those games to stay in the playoff pack.
The Coyotes will on the road Thursday as the visit the Los Angeles Kings. Puck drops at 8:30 p.m. Arizona time and will be available on Fox Sports Plus.
The American Hockey League announced today that Portland Pirates right wing Brett MacLean has been named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Month for December. MacLean scored 11 goals and added five assists for 16 points to go along with a plus-5 rating in 13 games for the Pirates.