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Stars 5, Coyotes 1

NHL.com @NHL

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Niko Kapanen scored three goals, Sergei Zubov added three assists and the Dallas Stars beat the Coyotes 5-1 Thursday night.

The Coyotes lost for the fifth time in the first seven games of their season-long 10-game homestand (2-4-1) and remained in 12th place in the Western Conference, eight points behind idle Los Angeles for the eighth playoff spot.

"We feel we're still in the hunt. You lose anymore and you won't be," Doan said. "The way that we've played in this homestand, it's hard to explain."

Dallas goalie Johan Hedberg made 35 saves. Brenden Morrow and Bill Guerin also scored for the surging Stars, who won for the eighth time in nine games (8-0-1).

Phoenix recorded 14 first-period shots but had almost no legitimate scoring chances. The Coyotes' best opportunity came with 7:52 left in the first, when Mike Comrie got a step behind the Stars' defense only to have his shot stopped easily by Hedberg.

"I haven't played too much lately, so I tried to be really focused and make sure that I am ready for whatever comes at me," Hedberg said.

Geoff Sanderson finally put Phoenix on the board on its 32nd shot, beating Hedberg on a sharp wrist shot from between the circles at 9:52 of the third period to cut Dallas' lead to 4-1.

Dallas capitalized on its relatively few opportunities, scoring on its fourth shot of the game when Guerin took a pass from Jason Arnott in front of the net and beat Curtis Joseph on a one-timer at 7:39 of the first.

A pair of second-period power-play goals put the game out of reach. Kapanen made it 2-0 at 5:33 of the second when he reached behind Joseph in the crease to tap a loose puck into the net. Morrow extended the lead to 3-0 at 15:32 on a hard shot from between the circles.

"The message today was to prepare for our game and what we need to do to win," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. "Tonight is the night that it was really put to the test because you cannot get caught up in everything that is going around."

Kapanen got his second goal with 2.7 seconds left in the second period, chipping a long rebound over Joseph's shoulder from the right of the net.

"We like Kapanen's game when he's not scoring, but when he does score it just jumps out at you," Tippett said. "You'll see over the next few weeks in the Olympics how important he is to Team Finland."

Kapanen completed his first career hat trick with a short-handed goal with 4:03 left in the game.

"It's nice to score goals," Kapanen said. "Even one is nice for me. Three in a row is unbelievable. That was my day for sure."

Notes: Kapanen had never scored more than one goal in a game. ... Hedberg was making his first start since Jan. 18, and his first appearance since Jan. 21. ... Zubov has points in 15 of his last 21 games, with five goals and 18 assists during that span.

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