Coyotes hope to keep rolling against Stars
Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 12:21 AM
Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing EditorCOYOTES (24-21-8) at STARS (27-22-2)
: FS-A PLUS (HD), FS-SW
: Phoenix 4-4-2; Dallas 4-5-1.
: This is the fourth of six meetings between the Pacific Division rivals. The Stars have won two of the first three matchups, with both victories requiring shootouts.
: The teams enter Tuesday's showdown deadlocked at 56 points apiece, two points behind the Minnesota Wild for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Phoenix pulled even with Dallas on Monday night thanks to an impressive 3-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Jobing.com Arena.
: It had been almost a full calendar year since Phoenix had beaten Detroit, but the Coyotes finally solved the Red Wings at Jobing.com Arena on Monday night. Martin Hanzal
scored twice for Phoenix, which was swept by Detroit in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last year and hadn't earned a victory against the Wings since March 5.
"It's been a struggle finding ways to beat this team," goalie Mike Smith
said. "They're obviously an elite team and any game against them is going to be hard. But we were gritty tonight. To be the best, we're going to have to beat the best and we're going to have to beat the teams ahead of us to get into the playoffs."
: Dallas bounced back nicely from last Thursday's 5-2 loss at San Jose as it earned a 2-1 shootout victory against Minnesota at the American Airlines Center on Saturday night. Kari Lehtonen
was sensational for the Stars, as he made 33 saves to help his club win for the third time in four games.
"I'm getting some bounces," said Lehtonen, who has allowed only three goals in his last three starts. "I feel like I've been moving well and just overall feeling good. It's nice that I have that now and hopefully I'm able to keep it for a long time. Those things seem to come and go and sometimes you're able to play well for a longer period of time and hopefully I can do that."
: Hanzal has 3 goals and 2 assists in his last three games. … Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski
is averaging a point per game over his last five contests, while forward Mike Ribeiro
has 5 goals in his last six.
: Coyotes defenseman David Schlemko
is out for the remainder of the season due to a foot injury. … Stars captain Brenden Morrow
(upper body) is on injured reserve. He is expected to miss at least a week.
: Phoenix plays 28 of its final 29 games against the Western Conference. … The Stars' power play is 3-for-7 over the last three games after going 2-for-29 in the previous 11.
: "We relied on our goalie a lot. We have to be better. We have to be better. I'm ecstatic about the two points. It's going to help us and you can go back and rewind games. But we have a different level that we need to get to." -- Stars coach Glen Gulutzan after Saturday's 2-1 win against Minnesota