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Stars, Coyotes in search of bounce-back efforts

by Brian Hunter
COYOTES (0-1-0) at STARS (1-1-0)


Season Series:
First of six matchups between these Pacific Division rivals. The Coyotes beat the Stars four times last season and were led by captain Shane Doan's 3 goals. Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn each scored 3 goals to pace Dallas.

Big Story: Both teams enter this one looking to bounce back from three-goal defeats -- for the Coyotes, in their season opener against the Sharks; and for the Stars, a loss in the back end of a home-and-home series with the Blackhawks.

Team Scope:

Coyotes: The big question waiting to be answered in Phoenix this season is how the loss of goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov will affect a team that has qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs each of the past two seasons. Mike Smith is the new No. 1, and his first game against San Jose on Saturday was a mixed bag. Smith allowed six goals, including the first four scored in the game to put the Coyotes squarely behind the eight ball, though he also faced 52 shots. Doan scored twice, but the defensive effort by the team was obviously lacking.

"It was embarrassing," Doan said. "That's the way it is sometimes. It's tough. It's not the way you want to start."

Stars: The debut of new Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan was a positive one, as the Stars edged the Blackhawks in their season opener Friday, but they weren't able to finish off the sweep in Chicago the following night. Backup goalie Andrew Raycroft got the nod and yielded the first three goals of the game before Vernon Fiddler got Dallas on the board. The Stars lost 5-2, though Sheldon Souray picked up a point for the second straight game, assisting on Steve Ott's power-play goal in the third period.

"There's a lot of new things that we’re learning every day," Raycroft said. "But that’s the key in this League, you don't let losses linger and you go out and adjust and get better the next game. This was Game 2 and the idea is to get better for Game 3 and we know we can."

Who's Hot:
The Coyotes' power play did click in the season opener, with Oliver Ekman-Larsson connecting in addition to Doan's pair of goals. ... Souray, back in the NHL with the Stars after spending the entire 2010-11 season in the AHL, has his first points streak going since recording 1 goal and 3 assists during a three-game run for the Oilers from Dec. 15-19, 2009.

Injury Report: Phoenix defenseman Michal Rozsival (head/facial) is day-to-day. ... Dallas defensemen Nicklas Grossman (groin) and Adam Pardy (rib) are day-to-day.

Stat Pack:
Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle had a pair of assists for his 27th career multi-point game and logged a whopping 31:04 of ice time in the season opener. ... Ott's goal was the 75th of his career while Fiddler's was his 60th and first for the Stars after coming over from the Coyotes.

Puck Drop: This is the second stop on a three-game road trip to open the season for Phoenix, which plays in Nashville on Thursday before returning to Arizona for its home opener Saturday against Winnipeg. A team that relied on stingy defense to win in past seasons got away from that against San Jose, much to the chagrin of its coach, Dave Tippett.

"We made some mistakes early, couldn't handle their pressure and they came at us full bore. They just overwhelmed us for the first two periods," Tippett said. "That's something that's very disappointing in the way our group reacted."

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