St. Louis Blues Hope the Ball Doesn't Drop on Their Winning Streak

Michael WagenknechtContributor IDecember 31, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 02:  Erik Johnson #6 of the St. Louis Blues passes the puck during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on March 2, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Blues defeated the Coyotes 5-2.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With the end of the year approaching the St. Louis Blues hope that their winning streak doesn't end when the ball drops at midnight. The Blues are on a four game winning streak and have shot themselves up from last in the division to second, only nine points behind Detroit for first in not only the division but also the conference.

That winning streak is on the line tonight against a young, struggling Phoenix Coyotes team. Earlier this season the Coyotes caught the Blues in the middle of a five game losing streak and Ray Whitney had a career night with five points including his first three goals of the season.

Jaroslav Halak was not in net for that game and has never faced Phoenix in is career, but is coming off his fourth shutout of the season. After his stretch in November when he gave up 19 goals in four games, Halak has given up 31 goals in the next 14 games but is only 6-6-2 in those games.

The Blues offense is starting to come back to life after news that TJ Oshie was on the mend quicker than expected and he looks to be back by late January. Brad Boyes has points in three of his last four games, including two goals, his first goals and points in ten games.

Alex Steen, the Blues leading scorer, has not scored against Phoenix in his career and just had his four game point streak snapped in the previous game against Chicago.

Since the lock out the series against the Coyotes have been one sided every season. From 2005 to 2008 the Coyotes were 8-2-1 against St. Louis, including a season sweep in the 2007-08 season. But over the last three seasons the Blues have turned the tables going 6-2-1 in that span including their own season sweep in 2008-09.

Phoenix currently sits in last place in the Pacific Division, but with a win tonight can jump into 7th in the conference ahead of the Blues. In their previous game the Coyotes beat the LA Kings 6-3 to pull within four points of second in their own division.

Shane Doan is on a four game point streak and has had a decent career against the Blues with 16 goals and 26 assists. Doan started off the season cold with only one goal in his first 15 games this season but has picked it up as of late picking up six of his seven goals in the month of December.

The Coyotes have started to feel the sting of injuries that the Blues have been dealing with this season as Radim Vrbata and Taylor Pyatt have gone done with injuries in the last week. While not the scoring punch that the Blues have lost, Vrbata and Pyatt are key veterans to this young team who are trying to show that last season was not a fluke.

With the new year approaching both of these young teams are hoping to continue their growth and ,while not a make or break game, every win counts.

Game time is 7:30 Central.