St. Louis Blues vs. Arizona Coyotes: Game Preview


The St. Louis Blues face off against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night in Phoenix, playing the second of what will be a three-game road trip.

Despite the fact that starting goaltender Brian Elliott did not allow any goals in regulation or overtime in what ended up being a shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, head coach Ken Hitchcock’s traditional rule that a goalie who gets a shutout starts the next game will not be invoked. The Blues are playing a back-to-back and will face the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, so the Blues will split the goaltending duties, meaning rookie Jake Allen gets the start against Arizona.

Allen gets his first start of the 2014-15 season and will be playing in his first NHL game since the 2013 season. The 24-year-old provided relief in net for the Blues following an injury to Halak and spotty play from Elliott, playing in 15 games and going 9-4-1 with a 2.46 goals against average. With Allen expected to get more starts than a typical backup goalie this year, Saturday night will be the rookie’s first opportunity to start creating an impression.

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The Blues may get an opportunity to face off against old friend B.J. Crombeen, who was in St. Louis from 2008 to 2012. The 29-year-old grinder, who is in his first season with the Coyotes, dressed in Arizona’s first two games before being a healthy scratch in their last game against the Edmonton Oilers.

The full 23-man Blues roster practiced on Friday afternoon and is expected to be available for the Coyotes game. It’s possible, though not necessarily likely, that defenseman Carl Gunnarsson will make his 2014-15 debut now that he’s fully recovered from offseason hip surgery.