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
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
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.