ST. LOUIS - Mike Smith made 31 saves in another stingy start, helping the Phoenix Coyotes take the Pacific Division lead with a 4-1 victory over the suddenly beatable St. Louis Blues Friday night.
Patrik Berglund’s rebound goal in the first period ended Smith’s shutout streak at 234 minutes 25 seconds and tied it at 1, but Smith was perfect the rest of the way. The Coyotes won their fourth in a row and extended the Blues’ season-worst winless streak to four games in St. Louis’s home finale.
Keith Yandle, Radim Vrbata, Shane Doan, and Mikkel Boedker scored for Phoenix, and Antoine Vermette had two assists. The Coyotes, who’ve won the last four by a combined 14-1, can win the first division title in franchise history with a victory in the regular-season finale Saturday night at Minnesota.
The Coyotes have a 1-point lead over Los Angeles and San Jose. The Kings and Sharks play Saturday night in San Jose, with one team guaranteed to earn 2 points.
Brian Elliott, whose scoreless streak ended at 241:33 in a shootout loss to Detroit Wednesday, had 28 saves for St. Louis. The Blues were the first team to clinch a playoff spot and could still win the Western Conference with a win Saturday at Dallas along with a Vancouver loss at home against Edmonton, but are 3-4-4 in their last 11.
The Blues finished a franchise-best 30-6-5 at home, but with a pair of blowout losses in the last three, also falling 5-2 to lowly Columbus last Saturday.