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Stars at Coyotes preview

Dallas plays final game before Winter Classic; Arizona seeks first win in three games

by Alan Robinson / Independent Correspondent

STARS (21-14-4) at COYOTES (21-15-4)

8 p.m. ET; FS-A, FS-A Plus, FS-SW, NHL.TV


The Game

The Dallas Stars will play their final game before the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic when they face the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Sunday.

The Stars, who play the Nashville Predators at Cotton Bowl Stadium on Wednesday, are 2-3-0 in their past five games after going 4-0-1 in their previous five.

Each teams is playing the second half of a back-to-back. The Stars won 3-2 in a shootout against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Saturday; the Coyotes lost 4-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena.

The Coyotes, who have lost their past two games and three of four (1-3-0), are trying to establish a home-ice advantage to match their success away from home. They are 1-4-0 in their past five home games and 8-9-1 at Gila River Arena compared to a 13-6-3 record on the road.


Players to watch

Stars forward Alexander Radulov has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his past seven games and has seven goals in 15 games against Arizona.

Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has six points (two goals, four assists) in his past five games after not having a point in 15 of his previous 18 games.


They said it

"There's a little different feel out there [than before the Christmas break]. I expect [Sunday] will be even better. It's a back-to-back and we'll see how it goes. These points are huge right now." -- Stars forward Joe Pavelski

"You've got to have a short memory [playing a back-to-back] but you've got to learn from it. You just can't erase it from your memory, you've got to learn from it." -- Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet on the loss at Vegas


Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Tyler Seguin -- Alexander Radulov

Mattias Janmark -- Roope Hintz -- Joe Pavelski

Andrew Cogliano -- Radek Faksa -- Blake Comeau

Denis Gurianov -- Jason Dickinson -- Corey Perry

Jamie Oleksiak -- John Klingberg

Esa Lindell -- Miro Heiskanen

Andrej Sekera -- Roman Polak

Anton Khudobin

Ben Bishop

Scratched: Justin Dowling, Taylor Fedun

Injured: Stephen Johns (post-traumatic headaches)


Coyotes projected lineup

Taylor Hall -- Christian Dvorak -- Conor Garland

Clayton Keller -- Carl Soderberg -- Nick Schmaltz

Lawson Crouse -- Derek Stepan -- Phil Kessel

Michael Grabner -- Brad Richardson -- Vinnie Hinostroza 

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Jason Demers

Jakob Chychrun -- Alex Goligoski

Jordan Oesterle -- Ilya Lyubushkin

Antti Raanta 

Adin Hill

Scratched: Aaron Ness, Christian Fischer

Injured: Niklas Hjalmarsson (leg)


Status report

Hjalmarsson, out since mid-October, is expected to return early next month.


Stat pack

The Stars and Coyotes are playing the first of three games against each other. … Seguin has five goals in his past seven games. … Khudobin is 1-2-0 with a 3.74 goals-against average in four games against Arizona. … Schmaltz has seven assists in his past five games. … Keller has six points (three goals, three assists) in the five games since Hall joined the Coyotes in a trade with the New Jersey Devils.

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