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Coyotes 6, Stars 2 @NHLdotcom

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Geoff Sanderson and the Phoenix Coyotes returned from the Olympic far more focused.

Sanderson and Shane Doan each scored twice and the Coyotes beat the Dallas Stars 6-2 on Thursday night in their first game back.

"I think the break really helped us," Sanderson said. "We were on a losing streak going into the break and it was good timing for us to get away from the game. We had a great week of practice and I don't think there was doubt in anyone's mind that we were going to play well tonight."

Doan added a pair of assists, Mike Comrie had four assists and Dennis Reinprecht and Paul Mara also scored for the Coyotes, who snapped a four-game losing streak to improve to 2-4-2 in their last eight. They are 12th in the Western Conference, eight points behind eighth-place Edmonton for the final playoff spot.

"It's nice to smile tonight," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. "We're in a tough spot. We know that."

Bill Guerin and Jason Arnott scored for the Stars, who have dropped their third straight to remain six points behind the idle Detroit Red Wings for the Western Conference lead.

"We were inconsistent and not too direct with what we wanted to do," Dallas' Mike Modano said. "Half the guys have been away playing and you could tell that they were a little bit tired."

Sanderson broke a scoreless tie with 1:33 left in the first period, pouncing on a loose puck swept across the crease by Mike Johnson and scoring into the open right side of the net on a power play.

Reinprecht made it 2-0 59 seconds later, shoving home a rebound after Mike Comrie's shot through the crease behind Johan Hedberg rang off the right post.

Hedberg also was out of position on the Coyotes' third goal, a breakaway score by Doan at 5:56 of the second period.

Doan took a long pass from Comrie, skated behind the Dallas defense and scored when Hedberg skated out of his net to reduce the angle before falling to his right side six feet in front of the crease and vainly waving his left leg at the puck.

Guerin briefly cut Phoenix's lead to three, 4-1, at 14:24 of the second period with a blast from the top of the right circle. But Mara answered 90 seconds later, set up when Comrie stole a pass just inside the Dallas offensive zone.

"Those are little mistakes, but it's not just the mistakes but how you cover up for them after," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. "How do you give up a breakaway from your own blue line? That's just stupid play. There's no way to sugarcoat that. It's just not a smart play."

Marty Turco replaced Hedberg to start the third period for Dallas.

"That was strictly for a change in momentum," Tippett said.

Arnott added a goal off a long rebound with 4:51 to go to pull the Stars to 4-2.

Dallas had an opportunity to get closer with an extended two-man advantage, but Mike Ricci blocked consecutive shots - losing his stick and doubling over after the first - as the Coyotes killed the power play.

"They score there and the game can change," Gretzky said. "What he did on that power play shows the difference between winning and losing in this league. He got hit hard on the first shot, then with no stick and basically no feeling in his hand he blocks the other shot."

Sanderson scored his second with 7:27 to go, also on the power play. He half-missed on a sweeping shot, but still beat Turco.

Doan added his second with 2:26 remaining, putting the Stars down by four goals for the first time this season.

Notes: Sanderson has six goals and two assists in his last five games. ... Doan entered the game with two assists in his last five games combined. ... The Stars lead the NHL with 37 fighting majors, including four on Thursday. ... Hedberg lost for the first time in three starts this season in Phoenix.

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