Coyotes-Blues Preview

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After an uncharacteristic performance to start this weekend, the St. Louis Blues returned to their stingy ways to close it out but might have lost one of their goaltenders.

With Jake Allen's status unknown for upcoming games, the Blues will try to bolster their Central Division title hopes Monday night by adding to their recent mastery of the Arizona Coyotes.

St. Louis (47-23-9) has outscored opponents 25-8 during a 6-1-0 run and gave up six of those goals in a loss to Boston on Friday. The Blues bounced back with a 5-1 victory in Colorado on Sunday and were 4:15 shy of their fifth shutout since March 18.

Anders Nilsson was in net for the final two periods after Allen's undisclosed injury and helped St. Louis move within two points of Western Conference-leading Dallas, which is idle Monday.

"We'll know a little more on Jake (on Monday)," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Hopefully, it's day to day."

The Blues are four points ahead of Chicago for home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs but don't hold the non-shootout wins tiebreaker. They also trail in that category against the Stars.

"We know what's in front of us. We know what's behind us," defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. "But the biggest thing for us is worrying about ourselves. If we play like we can, we're going to put ourselves in a good position. We want to make sure we're going full speed going to the playoffs."

Nilsson was the Blues' backup because Brian Elliott was back in St. Louis, reportedly resting up for this game. Elliott was pulled after two periods against Boston but did not receive the loss, putting him at 9-0-0 with a 1.92 goals-against average in his last 11 appearances.

Elliott is 4-0-0 with a 1.29 GAA and three shutouts since returning from a lower-body injury March 19. He yielded four goals on 22 shots in Arizona on Feb. 20, but St. Louis exited with a 6-4 victory, its seventh in a row over the Coyotes.

The Blues are also 10-0-1 in their last 11 matchups and 5-0-1 in their past six at home, winning the past three.

The Coyotes (35-36-7) are averaging a league-worst 1.7 goals in their last 16 road games and lost 4-1 to Dallas in their latest Thursday. They have won four of six overall, however, after a 3-0 victory against Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington on Saturday.

Mike Smith registered his second shutout since returning from a lower-body injury March 12 and improved to 5-2-0 with a 1.29 GAA in his last seven starts.

"It was important for me personally, coming off the injury and not playing a lot, to come back and show myself and the team and the organization that I can still play when I'm healthy," Smith told the team's official website. "It was our last home game and we played really well against the best team in the league."

Smith has a 3.90 GAA in his six consecutive losses to St. Louis.

Blues forward Alexander Steen has four goals and seven assists in a seven-game point streak against the Coyotes. He has also scored a goal in each of his past three matchups.

Blues captain David Backes' 13 goals and 18 assists in his last 27 games in the series are his most versus any opponent since the beginning of the 2008-09 season.