Get your game notes: Coyotes at Blues

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the St. Louis Blues hosting the Phoenix Coyotes starting at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

— The Blues’ Alexander Steen has scored 14 goals (T-NHL lead, Steven Stamkos) in 15 games played over 35 days this season (Oct. 3-Nov. 7, 2013). It took him 54 games and 497 days to net his previous 14 regular-season goals (Dec. 15, 2011-Apr. 25, 2013). The Blues have points in all 12 games when Steen has found the back of the net (10-0-2).

— Steen is riding a career-long, 10-game point streak (10 goals, three assists). With a point tonight, he will match the family record of 11 straight games, accomplished twice by his father, Thomas, who ranks fourth in Jet/Coyotes franchise history in goals (264), first in assists (553) and third in points (817).

— Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock ranks tenth all-time in coaching wins, with 616. Since taking over as the Blues’ boss in Nov. 2011, his club is 6-1-0 vs. Phoenix, outscoring the Coyotes by a 23-11 margin.

— Since the beginning of the 2011-12 season, goaltenders Brian Elliott (STL) and Mike Smith (PHX) lead the NHL with 13 shutouts apiece. During that span, the Blues’ goalie tandem of Elliott (13) and Jaroslav Halak (10, T-7th most) have combined to post 23 shutouts, most of any team in the league.

— The Coyotes have 12 wins in 2013-14, T-3rd most in the NHL. However, only four of those wins have come when leading at the second intermission. They have the league’s most wins when trailing after two periods (3-4-0 record) and when tied after two (5-0-1 record).

— Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk carries an eight-game point streak into tonight’s game. Since 1993-94, the only St. Louis blueliner with a point streak of eight or more games is Shattenkirk’s teammate, Alex Pietrangelo (nine games, in 2011-12).

— The Coyotes and Blues are the only two NHL teams with three defensemen with 10 or more points this season. (PHX: Keith Yandle – 14, Oliver Ekman-Larsson – 13, Derek Morris – 10; STL: Kevin Shattenkirk & Alex Pietrangelo – 12, Jay Bouwmeester – 10). Only the Blackhawks (52) have more combined points from their blueliners this season than the Coyotes (48).

— The Coyotes’ last four wins have all come in a shootout. Since the shootout was instituted before the 2005-06 season, only two other teams have needed it to post four straight wins: the Edmonton Oilers (Dec. 3-15, 2007) and Pittsburgh Penguins (Mar. 21-27, 2011). No team has ever relied on five successive shootouts for wins. (Elias Sports Bureau)

Rangers make changes after loss in Anaheim

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The scuffling New York Rangers — coming off a 6-3 loss Sunday in Anaheim, and with just two wins in their last seven — are expected to have a slightly different lineup tonight in San Jose.

Up front, winger Matt Puempel is likely to replace rookie Pavel Buchnevich. And on the back end, Dan Girardi will come in for Kevin Klein.

The Girardi-for-Klein switch is no huge surprise. Both d-men have been battling injuries, with Klein only returning Sunday after an extended absence due to back spasms. Head coach Alain Vigneault told reporters that he “didn’t want to put two injured defensemen in at the same time,” so Klein gets the night off tonight.

As for the potential scratching of Buchnevich, that decision would be slightly more controversial. The 21-year-old has two goals and three assists in his last 11 games, but clearly has not gained the full trust of his coach.

Henrik Lundqvist is expected to start in goal after a tough return to the net against the Ducks.

Canucks hint at shutting down injured Markstrom

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It doesn’t sound like Jacob Markstrom will play any more games for the Vancouver Canucks this season.

The 27-year-old goalie has been trying to recover from a knee injury suffered in the Canucks’ skills competition on Feb. 26.

“I don’t think things are great,” head coach Willie Desjardins said today. “We’ve got to make a medical decision on him.”

It has to be frustrating for Markstrom, who was hoping to challenge Ryan Miller for the starting job this year. The tall Swede played well at times, going 10-11-3 with a .910 save percentage — but in the end, he only made 23 starts.

“He’s a good goalie,” Desjardins said of Markstrom. “He can challenge for the number-one spot. Every time he goes in net, I’ve got lots of confidence in him. He’s left his mark this year.”

Markstrom is signed through 2019-20, while Miller is a pending unrestricted free agent.

It’s possible that the Canucks will re-sign Miller and come back with the same netminding tandem next season.

Oilers sign Walter Brown Award winner Gambardella

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Joe Gambardella, the UMass-Lowell senior that scored 52 points in 41 games this year, has signed a two-year, entry-level deal with Edmonton, the club announced on Monday.

Gambardella, 23, captured this year’s Walter Brown award as the top American-born collegiate player in New England. He beat out the likes of Clayton Keller, Colin White, Charlie McAvoy and Tage Thompson for the honor, and joined a distinguished list of past winners.

Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey won the Walter Brown in ’16 and ’15, while Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau won it in ’14.

Gambardella is the first UMass-Lowell player to ever win the award, which has been given out annually since 1953. It capped off a nice year in which he also paced the River Hawks to the NCAA tournament.

An undrafted free agent, Gambarella’s ELC will kick in next season. It’s also worth noting that one of his UMass-Lowell teammates, defenseman Michael Kapla, signed with the Devils earlier today.

 

 

Coyotes to honor Cunningham for his ‘tremendous courage’

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The Arizona Coyotes will honor Craig Cunningham with a ceremonial puck drop on April 8 before their final home game of the season against the Minnesota Wild.

From the team press release:

Cunningham, who survived a medical emergency prior to the Tucson Roadrunners game on November 19, has made a remarkable recovery. Fans will have an opportunity to congratulate him on the tremendous courage, willpower and perseverance he’s demonstrated throughout his rehabilitation.

Cunningham was recently honored by the Roadrunners.

The 26-year-old’s hockey career is unfortunately over after doctors were forced to amputate part of his left leg due to concerns over infection.

True to form, though, he’s maintained a positive attitude.

“Obviously I miss playing every single day, and I miss the atmosphere around the locker room,” Cunningham said, per the Arizona Daily Star. “The guys have been great. From Day 1, they’ve been to see me every day. It’s been pretty incredible.”