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At the Rink: Coyotes at Stars

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars' struggles at American Airlines Center, where they are 1-5-4, have been widely discussed. Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes, the Stars will look to snap a seven-game home winless streak (0-5-2) and get their first victory on a season-long five-game homestand.

"We're obviously sick of losing," Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski said. "We know that the only way to get out of it is to really just work harder. Everyone just wants to bring their best effort [Thursday]. We feel like we just got to get one here and then we'll start rolling. The mood's pretty good. We just want to end this thing and get a result."

Dallas, which lost 6-4 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday, last won at home Oct. 21 against the Vancouver Canucks.

Stars coach Lindy Ruff kept his top line of captain and left wing Jamie Benn, center Cody Eakin and right wing Tyler Seguin intact but made one change to his second line, plugging left wing Antoine Roussel in alongside center Jason Spezza and right wing Ales Hemsky.

Roussel moving up means left wing Erik Cole drops from the second to the fourth line, where he will skate with center Shawn Horcoff and right wing Colton Sceviour. Right wing Patrick Eaves returns to the third line after missing the past three games with a lower-body injury and will play with left wing Travis Moen and center Vernon Fiddler.

Ruff also made one change to his defensive pairings. Jyrki Jokipakka was paired with Jamie Oleksiak, meaning Jordie Benn will be a healthy scratch for the first time this season.

"He's had some good moments, he's had some tough moments," Ruff said of Jordie Benn. "He's faced some tough situations, outnumbered rushes where sometimes it's his partner or our team has got him in trouble. His game is a lot about skating and making that first play, and I think he's had some good games and maybe some tough ones, but you can say that for a lot of our defensemen."

Goalie Kari Lehtonen was first off the ice for Dallas and will start a sixth consecutive game.

Arizona has been a strong on the road of late. The Coyotes, who begin a three-game road trip, are 4-1-0 in their past five road games. Coyotes coach Dave Tippett, whose team is in a stretch where they play nine games in 17 days, chose not to have a morning skate Thursday.

"The way our schedule is right now, we need all the energy we can have for game time," Tippett said. "That's where it's at."

Tippett likely will employ the same line combinations and defensive pairings from a 2-1 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, but wouldn't rule out center Martin Hanzal (lower body) or left wing Rob Klinkhammer (upper body) returning Thursday.

"Everybody I'm hoping will come [Thursday] and we'll figure it out then," Tippett said.

Goalie Mike Smith is expected to start for Arizona.

Here are the projected lineups:


Lauri KorpikoskiAntoine VermetteMikkel Boedker

Lucas LessioSam GagnerShane Doan

Tobias RiederKyle ChipchuraMartin Erat

Brandon McMillanJoe VitaleB.J. Crombeen

Oliver Ekman-LarssonZbynek Michalek

Keith YandleConnor Murphy

Chris SummersMichael Stone

Mike Smith

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: David Schlemko

Injured: Brandon Gormley (lower body), Martin Hanzal (lower body), Rob Klinkhammer (upper body), David Moss (upper body).


Jamie BennCody Eakin - Tyler Seguin

Antoine RousselJason SpezzaAles Hemsky

Travis MoenVernon FiddlerPatrick Eaves

Erik Cole - Shawn HorcoffColton Sceviour

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley

Brenden Dillon - John Klingberg

Jyrki JokipakkaJamie Oleksiak

Kari Lehtonen

Anders Lindback

Scratched: Jordie Benn, Curtis McKenzie

Injured: Ryan Garbutt (upper body), Patrik Nemeth (arm), Valeri Nichushkin (hip/groin)

Status report: Garbutt (upper body) will miss at least another week. … McKenzie will likely be a healthy scratch after playing in the previous six games.

Who's hot: Arizona's penalty kill is 12-for-13 in the past four games. … The Coyotes have allowed three goals in their past three games. … Seguin leads the NHL in goals (14) and is third in points (24).

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