Arizona Coyotes Under Pressure to Win Saturday’s Pivotal Game vs St. Louis Blues

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Arizona Coyotes facing a critical point of their season on Saturday afternoon with a huge game against the Blues.

When the puck drops on Saturday afternoon, the 5th place Arizona Coyotes (43 points) will be battling the 4th place St. Louis Blues (44 points) in the last meeting between the two teams this season. The result is of utmost importance for both clubs, as the Yotes need to leapfrog the Blues in the standings as well as gain some momentum for their following games against the Minnesota Wild on Monday and Wednesday nights. Let’s take a quick look at some updated stat comparisons between team leaders in a variety of areas:

David Perron 41 pts
Ryan O’Reilly 39 pts
Brayden Schenn – 28 pts
Phil Kessel – 34 pts
Conor Garland – 31 pts
Clayton Keller and Jakob Chychrun – 30 apiece

Ryan O’Reilly – 17
Mike Hoffman and David Perron – 13 apiece
Phil Kessel – 16
Jakob Chychrun – 13
Clayton Keller and Christian Dvorak – 12 apiece

David Perron – 28
Ryan O’Reilly and Torey Krug – 22 apiece
Ryan Getzlaf – 12
Conor Garland – 21
Clayton Keller and Phil Kessel – 18 apiece

Faceoff Percentage
Ryan O’Reilly – 59.36%
Mike Hoffman – 57.14%
Christian Dvorak – 52.98%
Johan Larsson – 48.19%

Jordan Binnington GP 31 (W 12 – L 12 – OT 5) GAA: 2.70 Save percentage: .909
Adin Hill GP 9 (W 4 – L 4 – OT 1) GAA: 3.20 Save percentage: .913
Antti Raanta GP 12 (W 5 – L 5 – OT-2) GAA: 3.36 Save percentage: .905

I can think of 49 reasons why Saturday, April 17, is going to be a glorious day!

What isn’t clear by simply listing the statistics above is their context, and while the Blues have been pretty hot lately (even with their recent loss at home against Colorado), the Coyotes have been sitting on the wrong side of the playoff ledger with 43 points since April 5. A single win since then would already have them positioned in 4th place, but their offense has run dry, their defense has been leaky, and they’ve had to put third string goalkeeper Adin Hill (who’s done an amazing job) in as a starter due to the injuries to Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta.

It’s well known that the Blues are a veteran team whose nucleus has been together for quite some time. As such, the team knows how to play in pressure situations, and Saturday’s matinee game certainly fits that bill. Gaining two points in this head-to-head match is critical to their playoff hopes, because the Blues’ remaining schedule is extremely tough. After the Arizona game, the Blue Notes are scheduled to play three straight against the top-seeded Avalanche and then the third-place Minnesota Wild, all in April. The schedule gets a bit easier for them in May by virtue of playing the Ducks twice and the L.A. Kings once, although their other May games are against the VGK and the Minnesota Wild.

There might be a disruption to the upcoming Honda West Division schedule due to Covid-19 considerations, but the Coyotes themselves have not been affected as of yet. Tonight’s game between the Colorado Avalanche and the Los Angeles Kings was postponed, so there could be some sort of domino effect down the road. The only meaningful game tonight for the Yotes is the clash between the Minnesota Wild (53 points) and the San Jose Sharks (40 points).

Things obviously look a bit dicey for the Desert Dogs on Saturday, and with their collective emotions going to be very high, perhaps they can take control of themselves for 60 minutes and play inspired hockey. I can think of 49 reasons why Saturday will be a very blessed day. Let’s go Coyotes!