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Dallas Stars vs. Phoenix Coyotes

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GAME: Dallas Stars (11-14-3-0) at Phoenix Coyotes (9-10-7-1).

TIME: Wednesday, 9 p.m. EST.

The Dallas Stars have been one of the NHL's elite teams for the past several seasons.

That seems like a very long time ago right now.

Dallas hopes to avoid its first five-game losing streak in almost eight years when it concludes a four-game road trip against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Despite having the league's third-highest payroll at $67 million, the Stars are last in the Pacific Division and tied with Chicago and Columbus for the most losses in the Western Conference with 14.

Dallas held a closed-door players-only meeting that lasted more than 20 minutes after its fourth straight loss, 4-0 at Anaheim on Sunday.

"We've been lucky and fortunate to have had a very successful team for a while, and this had been a major shot to the ego lately," Stars captain Mike Modano said. "Nothing is really clicking -- playmaking, puckhandling or passing. We need a lot more commitment and discipline."

The Stars, 4-10-2 in their last 16 games, have been shut out in two of their last three, and six times this season. That's twice as many times as last season, when they had the NHL's second-best record and won their sixth division title in seven years.

Dallas hasn't lost five straight since Dec. 23-Jan. 1, 1996. After starting their trip with three losses, the Stars are in danger of getting swept on a road trip of four or more games for the first time since Feb. 24-March 3, 1988, when the franchise was the Minnesota North Stars.

Part of the reason for the team's current struggles is a defense that has been hit hard by injuries. Dallas played Sunday without regular defensemen Richard Matvichuk, Teppo Numminen and Philippe Boucher.

After completing a 2-1-2 road trip with a 2-2 tie at Chicago on Sunday, the Coyotes will be opening a three-game homestand Wednesday.

"If you had said we'd come out of this trip .500, that would be acceptable," Coyotes coach Bob Francis said. "But the fact we could have been a lot better than that and we didn't take advantage of it is a little bit disappointing."

Shane Doan scored the tying goal for the Coyotes with 67 seconds left in regulation Sunday and also added an assist. He has three goals and nine points in his last six games.

Phoenix is 0-1-1 against Dallas this season, and 0-5-3 in the last eight meetings since a 5-1 victory on Feb. 26, 2002.

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