ARIZONA COYOTES

Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz power Coyotes to win over Blues

Oct 19, 2023, 8:34 PM | Updated: 8:35 pm

Clayton Keller and the Coyotes are threatening to sneak into the playoffs early in the 2023-24 seas...

Clayton Keller and the Coyotes are threatening to sneak into the playoffs early in the 2023-24 season. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

ST. LOUIS — Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz each had a goal and an assist, sparking the Arizona Coyotes to a 6-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Nick Bjugstad, Jason Zuker and Sean Durzi scored on the power play for the Coyotes, and Michael Carcone added a goal. The Coyotes finished their season-opening road trip 2-2-0.

Jakub Vrana and Sammy Blais scored for St. Louis, which slipped to 1-1-1 with the regulation loss after going to shootouts in its first two games.

Connor Ingram was in net for the Coyotes, who have alternated goaltending duties in each game so far this season. Ingram, who had never faced the Blues, stopped 24 shots.

The Blues’ Joel Hofer made first start of the season and his first career start against Arizona. He stopped 36 shots. Last season, Hofer made six starts, going 3-1-1 with a .905 save percentage and 3.22 goals against average.

Bjugstad scored on a power play with a wrist shot from the slot at 14:42 of the first period. Bjugstad’s first goal of the season came on a pass from the left circle by Matis Maccelli.

The Coyotes outscored the Blues 3-1 in the second period.

Keller gave Arizona a 2-0 lead by scoring on a nifty backhand finish after an Alexey Toropchenko turnover in the neutral zone at 2:34. Keller got a nice pass from Nick Schmaltz, who has 22 points in 15 games since the 2020-21 season against the Blues.

Keller has 26 points in 25 career games in his hometown of St. Louis.

Vrana scored at 7:02 for St. Louis. Marco Scandella sent a backhand pass to Vrana, who skated into the slot and sent a wrister past Ingram on the stick side.

Arizona got the goal back 42 seconds later when Carcone answered with a wide speed rush that allowed him to cut to the net and slip it past Hofer. That gave the Coyotes two 5-on-5 goals in the game, after they had just one in the previous three.

Keller fed Schmaltz, who scored on a backhander in the slot at 13:58, giving the Coyotes a 4-1 lead.

Zuker’s goal came on a power play at 2:09 of the third, scoring on a one-timer after getting a pass from Macelli.

The Blues answered at 3:16 on a goal by Blais.

Durzi scored an unassisted power-play goal at 16:59.

BLUES HALL OF FAME

The St. Louis Blues announced during the first period that Pavol Demitra, Mike Luit, and Keith Tkachuk have been voted as the Class of 2024 for the Blues Hall of Fame. The team will officially induct the players into the team’s hall on Jan. 19, 2024, during a ceremonial dinner at the downtown Missouri Athletic Club. The inductees will then be honored prior to the Jan. 20 game, when the Blues host the Washington Capitals.

ICE CHIPS

The Blues have not scored in nine power-play attempts this season. … Blues RW Alexey Toropchenko played in his 100th career NHL game. … Blues C Nikita Alexandrov made his season debut after being a healthy scratch in the first two games. … Scratches for the Coyotes were Travis Boyd and Josh Brown, while the Blues’ scratches were Scott Perunovich and Robert Bortuzzo.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Coyotes: D Shea Weber (ankle) is out; RW Jakub Voracek (concussion) is out.

Blues: LW Pavel Buchnevich (upper body) remains day to day. He was hurt in the first period of Saturday’s game against Seattle when was shoved into the boards and did not return.

UP NEXT:

Coyotes: Host Anaheim on Saturday in home their opener.

Blues: Host Pittsburgh on Saturday.

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