Coyotes back on track as Kuemper makes 39 saves in win over Blues
ST. LOUIS — Darcy Kuemper and the Arizona Coyotes bounced back nicely after an ugly loss in Chicago.
Kuemper made 39 saves, Richard Panik and Vinnie Hinostroza scored, and the Coyotes beat the St. Louis Blues 3-1 on Tuesday.
Kuemper was back on his game one night after he allowed four goals on 16 shots before he was pulled during the second period of the Coyotes’ 7-1 loss to the Blackhawks. He has won 10 of his last 12 starts to improve to 23-16-5 this season.
“Kuemps was great,” coach Rick Tocchet said. “Even when I pulled him and I went and talked to him after the game you could just tell, he was focused. There was no way I couldn’t put him back in the net. There was not much room tonight. He was big in the net tonight.”
The Coyotes have won 12 of 16 to move one point ahead of Minnesota for the final Western Conference wild card.
“Especially with the year we’ve had so far with a lot of injuries, we’ve battled really hard to get to where we are right now,” Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson said. “Hopefully we can keep going and stay in that wild-card spot.”
Jaden Schwartz scored for St. Louis, and Jordan Binnington stopped 19 shots.
“It’s embarrassing. ... It’s a game we should have won,” Blues center Ryan O’Reilly said. “There’s no way those guys should have beat us.”
Arizona scored its first goal 65 seconds into the second period. Panik intercepted Binnington’s clearing attempt from behind the net and knocked it in for his 13th goal of the season.
“I’ve got to be better there,” Binnington said. “I thought I had Schwartzy on the backside there. I just missed my pass there and unfortunately it ended up in the goal and gave them the lead.”
Hinostroza made it 2-0 with his 12th goal 23 seconds into the third. Brad Richardson intercepted a pass from Oskar Sundqvist inside the St. Louis zone and fed it to Hinostroza, who wristed the puck over Binnington.
“Our whole identity is working hard,” Hinostroza said. “We got the puck in deep there. ... Richie tried to shoot it. The puck just laid there for me and I just shot it in.”
Schwartz scored a power-play goal with 1:11 left to give St. Louis a chance. Schwartz’s seventh goal of the season snapped a streak of eight consecutive games without registering a point, and marked the 300th point of his career.
Arizona put it away when Ekman-Larsson added an empty-net goal with 22 seconds remaining.
NOTES: Blues D Joel Edmundson departed with a lower-body injury midway through the second period. ... The Blues have scored two or fewer goals in eight of their last 10 games. ... Arizona improved to 5-19-1 in its last 25 games versus St. Louis.
Coyotes: Host Anaheim to open a two-game homestand Thursday.
Blues: At Ottawa to start a three-game road trip Thursday.