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Coyotes, Stars hope to enter Olympic break with win

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- The Phoenix Coyotes and Dallas Stars share a common goal in their final game before the NHL breaks for the 2014 Sochi Olympics: win on Saturday at American Airlines Center.

The Coyotes have a bit of momentum after blanking the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 Friday night in Glendale, Chicago's first time being shut out in 127 games. That victory, which featured an appearance by 10 members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic "Miracle on Ice" team, was watched intently by Stars coach Lindy Ruff.

"I don't think Chicago was ready to play. I thought Phoenix really dominated the game. They [Chicago] had a little bit of a push back late," Ruff said.

Dallas is 5-1-2 in its past eight games and won 3-1 in Glendale on Tuesday to close out a three-game road trip that saw the Stars take five of a possible six points. So Ruff knows exactly what to expect from his second matchup with the Coyotes in four days.

"We know what type of game [this will be]. I don't think it's going to change from the game before and it's going to be a battle where some patience at times is really going to have to pay off," Ruff said. "We're going to have to get around the net and make sure we're battling for second opportunities and making it real tough on them."

Ruff is keeping his forward lines and defensive pairings intact from a 2-1 overtime loss at the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday and Kari Lehtonen will start in goal for the 11th time over the past 13 games.

Since the Coyotes are on the second night of a back-to-back, Phoenix did not skate on Saturday morning. But Coyotes coach Dave Tippett announced after the Chicago game that Mike Smith would start a fourth straight game in net for the Coyotes.

Defenseman Derek Morris, who sustained a lower-body injury in the first period of Friday's game, did not travel to Dallas and either Connor Murphy or David Rundblad will replace him at the blue line. Veteran center Martin Hanzal, who missed the win against the Blackhawks due to illness, did travel and could play against the Stars.

Here are the projected lineups for the Coyotes and Stars:


Shane DoanMartin HanzalRadim Vrbata

Lauri KorpikoskiAntoine VermetteMikkel Boedker

Tim KennedyMike RibeiroDavid Moss

Kyle ChipchuraJeff HalpernRob Klinkhammer

Oliver Ekman-LarssonZbynek Michalek

Keith YandleConnor Murphy

David SchlemkoMichael Stone

Mike Smith

Thomas Greiss

Injured: Derek Morris (upper body).

Scratched: Paul Bissonnette, David Rundblad.


Jamie BennTyler SeguinValeri Nichushkin

Erik Cole - Cody EakinRich Peverley

Ray Whitney - Shawn HorcoffAlex Chiasson

Antoine RousselVernon FiddlerRyan Garbutt

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley

Jordie Benn - Brenden Dillon

Kevin Connauton - Sergei Gonchar

Kari Lehtonen

Dan Ellis

Injured: Stephane Robidas (leg).

Scratched: Aaron Rome.

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