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Stars seek to avenge earlier loss at Phoenix

by Brian Hunter /

STARS (11-6-7) at COYOTES (13-11-1)

Last 10 - Stars 5-3-2; Coyotes 4-5-1

Season series - The Stars are visiting Arena for the second time in less than two weeks. The Coyotes claimed a 3-2 win on Nov. 14, as David Schlemko netted his first NHL goal with 24.3 seconds left in the middle period to snap a 1-1 tie and Radim Vrbata added what held up as the game-winner 3:35 into the third. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 26 shots.

Big story - It's been a struggle putting pucks in the net recently for Phoenix, which is 2-3-1 in its last half-dozen games with just 10 goals during that span. Feeling the frustration in particular is Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who leads the team with 16 points but has been held off the scoresheet in seven of the last eight games.

"It's starting to get a little monotonous, the fact that we can't score, and it starts with me," Doan said after a 2-1 loss in Calgary on Wednesday. "There's absolutely nothing positive to take out of that (game)."

Team Scope:

Stars - Brenden Morrow scored with 25.4 seconds left to force overtime as Dallas grabbed a point from Wednesday's 4-3 shootout loss to St. Louis and finished a four-game homestand with a 2-1-1 mark. Brad Richards was one player who came away less than pleased with the Stars' effort.

"It was a sloppy game. We started out doing what we wanted to do, but for some reason we decided not to do it anymore,'' Richards said. "That's not how we wanted to play. We started turning pucks over and not doing what we did in the first 10 minutes. We weren't going to keep them to zero shots for the whole game.''

Coyotes - A pair of key defensemen returned to the lineup Wednesday, as Phoenix activated Ed Jovanovski and Zbynek Michalek off injured reserve. Another one scored, as Keith Yandle connected on a third-period power play to tie the score. In the end, though, the Flames edged the Coyotes on a Nigel Dawes goal with 5:44 remaining.

"We're very disappointed. We're not happy with the entire game," blueliner Adrian Aucoin said. "We knew the quality of team that they are, but we didn't play our game. I think we let points slip away."

Who's hot - Richards has 1 goal and 7 assists in the Stars' last three games. Yandle has power-play goals in two of the Coyotes' last three games.

Injury report - Dallas defenseman Nicklas Grossman has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury. Forward Brian Sutherby was placed on injured reserve with a groin injury. … Phoenix continues to play without defenseman Kurt Sauer (head), who hasn't seen action since the season opener.

Stat pack - Dallas was one of the League's best shootout teams entering the season, with a 32-14 all-time record, but Wednesday's loss leaves the Stars 1-5 this season in the penalty-shot tiebreaker.

Puck drop - The goal light operator doesn't get much of a workout when the Coyotes are involved. Their 2.32 goals-per-game average is 28th in the League; conversely, their team goals-against average of 2.44 is fourth-best.

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