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Stars-Coyotes Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Phoenix Coyotes at Dallas Stars

Saturday, February 8
7:00 p.m.
TV: TXA-21
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (26-21-10) wrapped up a 2-0-1 road trip with a 2-1 overtime loss at San Jose on Wednesday. The point gave the Stars points in seven of their last eight games (5-1-2).

“It was a good point,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We’d like to go out of this thing with the extra point, but you take a look at the road trip, getting five out of six and playing the way we did, you’ve got to be happy.”

Saturday’s game will be the Stars’ final one before the Olympic break. It will be their second in five days against the Coyotes, a team they are chasing in the Western Conference playoff race. They are two points behind the Coyotes, who currently hold the final wild card spot in the West.

“We’re playing a team we need to beat. You couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Ruff. “Those games are really important. Somebody says four-point games. There really are games that can make the difference. By the end of the year, you’re going to look back on certain games and that one will probably be one of them.”

Injuries: D Stephane Robidas (leg) is out.

About the Coyotes

The Coyotes (27-20-10) took over the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 2-0 victory over Chicago Friday night. Mike Smith stopped 30 shots for his second shutout of the season and the Coyotes scored twice on the power play.

“[Smith] played really well,” said Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata, who scored one of Phoenix’s goals. “That’s how we are set up; for us to be successful it starts with him. Then we have to do our job up front. It was a great job by him.”

Phoenix has a one point lead over Vancouver for the final wild card spot in the West. They have a two point lead over Dallas.

“Everybody has to look at the standings. Everybody knows the situation,” Vrbata said. “We lost to Dallas a couple nights ago (3-1 in Phoenix Tuesday), so we have to go there and try to get those two points back.”

Defenseman Derek Morris suffered an upper body injury in Friday’s game and is not expected to travel with the team to Dallas. Smith is expected to start in goal.

Injuries: D Derek Morris (upper body) is out.

Series Notes

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

*The Stars are 1-0-0 in the season series and the Coyotes are 0-1-0.

*February 4, Dallas at Phoenix: Stars 3, Coyotes 1

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 3-1-1 in their last five games at home.

*The Coyotes are 1-3-3 in their last seven games on the road.

*The Stars have allowed 11 goals over their last eight games (1.38 per game).

*The Coyotes have allowed seven goals over their last five games (1.40).

*The Stars have allowed 23.4 shots per game over their last eight contests.

*Phoenix has scored on the power play in 13 of its last 16 games and is 14-56 (25.0 percent) on the PP during that stretch.

*The Stars are 11-39 (28.2 percent) on the power play over the last 12 games.

*Stars center Tyler Seguin has points in seven straight games (three goals, eight assists).

*Coyotes center Antoine Vermette has nine goals in the last 11 games.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on 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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