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Stars face Coyotes, chase second straight road win

by Adam Kimelman
STARS (27-21-12) at COYOTES (37-20-5)
Last 10:
Dallas 6-3-1; Phoenix 8-2-0
Season series: This is the fourth of six meetings between the division rivals. The Coyotes won the first three games, but the Stars won their most recent matchup, 4-0 in Dallas, as Marty Turco turned aside all 34 shots he faced, and Jamie Benn scored a pair of goals.
Big Story: Can the Stars make it two in a row on the road? They haven't won consecutive games away from home since Oct. 17-21.
Can the Coyotes bounce back on short rest from losing in Colorado on Friday? And how will they respond after being shut out by the Stars last Saturday?
Team Scope:
Stars -- Mike Ribeiro has made quite a return since missing a month with a serious throat injury. He had a goal Tuesday against Chicago, then had 2 goals and an assist Thursday against Calgary.
Ribeiro impressed his teammates with one remarkable play against the Flames, picking up a puck below the goal line, moving it between his legs and shooting it into the net with his stick between his legs.
"He does that stuff all of the time in practice, and people laugh at him and say he's just messing around, but it works," captain Brenden Morrow told the Dallas Morning News. "He's great in that he has the guts to work on it and he's got the guts to use it, and you don't see that a lot in the League."
Coyotes --
Phoenix hasn't made the playoffs since the 2001-02 season, and last season finished 13th in the Western Conference. This season, though, they picked up their 37th win in their 61st game -- the fastest in franchise history they've hit that mark.
What's been the biggest difference? Simple -- defense. The Coyotes are sixth in the League in goals allowed this season, at 2.44 per game, and ninth in penalty kill at 83.3 percent; last season, they were 24th in goals allowed at 3.04 per game, and 28th in penalty kill at 76.8 percent.
Who's Hot --
Stars center Brad Richards has a point in five straight games, with 2 goals and 5 assists. … Coyotes captain Shane Doan has 4 points and a plus-4 rating in his last four games.
Injury Report --
Stars right wing Jere Lehtinen is questionable with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Mark Fistric will miss a month after having arthroscopic knee surgery, and center Steve Ott is out indefinitely after having an appendectomy. … Coyotes center Joel Perrault (upper-body injury) was placed on injured reserve Monday, where he joins forward Scottie Upshall (torn ACL).
Stat Pack --
The Stars' 22 road losses (15 in regulation, seven in shootouts) are tied for the most in the Western Conference.
Puck Drop --
Stars center Mike Modano looks to be preparing for his life after hockey. According to the Dallas Morning News, Modano wants to be a part of any new ownership group that purchases the team. He already helped set up a meeting between Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and a prospective Stars owner.
"I definitely would like to be a part of the team going forward, and that would be one option," Modano told the newspaper's Mike Heika. "But it would have to be in a smaller role."

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