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by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes
Phoenix at Dallas
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GAME: Phoenix Coyotes (24-22-2) at Dallas Stars (30-15-2).

TIME: Monday, 8:30 p.m. EST.

This is the worst the Dallas Stars have played all season. It may be the worst Marty Turco has ever played.

Turco is likely to be back in net when the Stars try to end a season-high three-game losing streak in a matchup with the Phoenix Coyotes.

Turco allowed four goals on seven shots in under 13 minutes in the Stars' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night.

The two-time All-Star missed the previous game due to a groin injury, and has allowed eight goals on the last 21 shots he's faced.

"We've had some bad starts, but that was our worst all season," said Turco, who refused to use the injury as an excuse. "To be unprepared like that, knowing what was coming, there's absolutely no excuse. Soft, sloppy play has been the characteristic of ourselves. We've just been getting by and pretending, and it's finally catching up with us."

Turco was pulled in the first period against the Lightning, and has been replaced in three of his last six starts. On Jan. 6 against Anaheim, Turco was pulled after allowing three goals on 10 shots, and two days later against Detroit, he was pulled after giving up three goals on 13 shots.

The Stars' current losing streak follows a season-best six-game winning streak. They have been outscored 15-7 during the three-game skid, and have just two power-play goals in 24 opportunities over the last five games.

Jere Lehtinen leads the Stars with 24 goals, but has failed to register a point in the last four games.

The Stars had a 20-minute team meeting after the Lightning game, and coach Dave Tippett did most of the talking.

"You try to stop the bleeding," Tippett said. "You have to recognize what's happening. You have to recognize the situation and fix it. You don't fix things by talking about it. You fix things by doing it."

The Stars are 2-2 against the Coyotes this season, losing the last two at home.

Phoenix defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday night and has won four of its last five games.

Oleg Saprykin sent the game into overtime with a goal with 3:41 remaining in the third, and Ladislav Nagy and Geoff Sanderson scored in the shootout.

"It's nice to battle back after we gave up the lead and get that winning feeling after the game," said Mike Johnson, who scored his 12th goal of the season in the second period.

Phoenix improved to 3-1 in shootouts and has won its last six games that have gone to overtime.

Curtis Joseph made 24 saves against the Oilers and has won three straight starts. The 16-year veteran is 4-13-3 in his last 20 games against the Stars, though, with a 3.52 goals-against average and .880 save percentage.

Shane Doan has scored a goal in each of his last three games against the Stars, and has six goals and eight assists in his last nine games against Dallas.

STANDINGS: Coyotes - 50 points, 4th place (tied), 12 PB, Pacific Division. Stars - 62 points, 1st place, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Coyotes - Nagy, Doan and Mike Comrie, 15 goals; Nagy, 37 assists and 52 points; Sean O'Donnell, 106 PIM. Stars - Lehtinen, 24 goals; Sergei Zubov, 32 assists; Mike Modano, 47 points; Steve Ott, 97 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Coyotes - Power play: 18.6 percent (60 for 323), 13th in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.7 percent (243 for 305), 26th. Stars - Power play: 16.1 percent (48 for 298), 20th. Penalty killing: 84.1 percent (248 for 295), 10th.

GOALTENDERS: Coyotes - Joseph (19-12-0, 2 SO, 2.70 GAA); Brian Boucher (3-5-0, 4.01). Stars - Turco (22-13-2, 3, 2.62); Johan Hedberg (8-2-0, 2.71).


LAST MEETING: Dec. 23; Coyotes, 3-2. At Dallas, Doan and Dave Scatchard scored on the Coyotes' only two shots of the third period as Phoenix rallied from a one-goal deficit.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Coyotes - 11-12-1 on the road; Stars - 14-10-1 at home.

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