STARS (12-9-2) at COYOTES (11-10-3)
TV: FS-SW, FS-A PLUS
Last 10: Dallas 5-4-1; Phoenix 5-4-1
Season series: This is the fourth and final matchup this season between these Pacific Division rivals. The Stars hold a 2-1-0 edge, with one of those wins coming in a shootout Feb. 1 in Dallas. Radim Vrbata of the Coyotes leads all players with three goals and five points in the three previous matchups.
Big story: Dallas has started March on a roll, but Phoenix has struggled a little in the last couple of weeks, as its normally stout defense appears to have sprung a leak.
Stars: Dallas started a modest two-game road swing on Thursday in Los Angeles against the Kings. The mini-road trip precedes a run in which the Stars will play nine of 11 games within the friendly confines of American Airlines Center.
Thursday night against the Kings, Jaromir Jagr opened the scoring for Dallas on the power play, marking the third straight game the 41-year-old wing has managed to find the back of the net. Trevor Lewis tied the game for Los Angeles later in the period before Jeff Carter notched his 16th goal of the season to give the Kings a 2-1 lead with 4:30 remaining in the middle frame.
But Dallas responded with another power-play goal, as Cody Eakin found daylight on a rush before putting a rising backhand past Jonathan Quick. That set the stage for a wild third in which the Stars scored three unanswered goals for a 5-2 win, despite being outshot 12-8 in the period. One of those third-period goals belonged to Jagr, giving him 674 in his illustrious career, the 10th highest total in NHL history.
Coyotes: Despite winning two games in an unusual three-game set against the Anaheim Ducks, Phoenix gave up 10 goals in those three games, well above what hockey fans have come to expect from the Coyotes' tight defense. Opening up a three-game homestand against St. Louis on Thursday, Phoenix hoped to rediscover the impenetrable defense that helped lead it to the Western Conference Finals last spring.
Against the Blues, the Coyotes overcame an early 1-0 deficit, as David Moss scored shorthanded to tie the game before Shane Doan gave Phoenix a lead just 41 seconds into the second period. But with momentum appearing to be in their favor, Phoenix quickly found the game getting away from them.
Patrik Berglund scored two goals 2:12 apart, both coming courtesy of assists from Chris Stewart, who had opened the scoring in the first period. That was the just the beginning of a St. Louis barrage of five unanswered goals, giving the line of Stewart, Berglund and David Perron nine combined points. With just 25 seconds remaining in the game, Keith Yandle scored on the power play, but that just closed the scoring in a 6-3 defeat.
Who's hot: Jagr has four goals in his last three games while Eakin has six points in his last five games. Dallas rookie Antoine Roussel has five points in his current four-game point streak. … For Phoenix, Yandle, Doan and Steve Sullivan all have four points in their last five games.
Injury report: Philip Larsen missed Thursday's game for Dallas with an upper-body injury, while Aaron Rome (foot) and Ray Whitney (foot) are on injured reserve. … The Coyotes will be missing David Schlemko (shoulder) and Vrbata (lower body), who are both on IR.
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