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Stars-Coyotes Preview

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Arizona Coyotes at Dallas Stars
Friday, February 24
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (23-27-10) are coming off their five-day 'bye-week.' They last played Saturday, defeating Tampa Bay 4-3 in overtime behind an Antoine Roussel hat trick and Jamie Benn's game-winner in the extra period. Teams have not fared well coming off the five-day break, posting a 4-12-4 record in their first game back.

"The players have been off on their own, and you don't control what they do," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "It's the total responsibility of the players to be ready. So, you have a team that has been up and running against a team that hasn't practiced in five days. I think that can sometimes be the difference."

The Stars went through a lengthy practice late Thursday afternoon.

"I think the main focus was get our speed back and do everything quick out there on the ice," said Stars captain Jamie Benn. "We had five days to rest and kind of mellow out, so we need to get our brains going, get our feet moving again and get back."

Defenseman Johnny Oduya, who has been out more than a month with an ankle injury, practiced Thursday. He is not expected to play Friday but could be ready by Sunday.

The Stars enter Friday's game ten points out of a playoff spot with 22 games remaining.

Thursday's game is the second of five straight at home for the Stars.

Injuries: D Johnny Oduya (ankle), C/LW Adam Cracknell (lower body), RW Ales Hemsky (hip) and C/LW Mattias Janmark (knee) are on injured reserve.

About the Coyotes

The Coyotes (21-31-7) lost 6-3 at Chicago Thursday. The Coyotes rallied from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game 3-3 after one period, but the Blackhawks scored twice in the second period and once in the third to sweep the season series against Arizona.

"Between turnovers and not getting extra saves that's what you get right there," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett told media after the game. "Both teams made a couple of mistakes in coverage early on and we kept making them and not getting saves and the game ended up where it did."

The Coyotes fell to 8-5-1 in their past 14 games overall.

Louis Domingue is expected to get the start in goal Friday against the Stars.

Friday's game wraps up a two-game road trip for the Coyotes.

Injuries: F Lawson Crouse (lower body) is questionable. F Brad Richardson (leg) is on injured reserve.

Season Series

*This the second of three meetings between the Stars and Coyotes this season.

*The Stars won the first meeting, 3-2, at Arizona on Dec. 27.

*The Stars have won seven straight games against the Coyotes at American Airlines Center.

Statistical Tidbits

*The Stars are 16-9-6 at home including 5-3-2 in their past ten.

*The Coyotes are 8-17-4 on the road.

*The Stars are 8-3-2 vs. the Pacific Division.

*The Coyotes are 4-9-0 on the road.

*The Stars have allowed three goals or more in 15 of their past 17 games excluding the goals awarded for shootout wins.

*Arizona has scored three goals or more in 12 of its past 16 games.

*Stars captain Jamie Benn has 19 points (ten goals, nine assists) in his past 15 games.

*Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata has points in seven straight games (two goals, five assists). 

This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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