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Stars-Coyotes Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars at Phoenix Coyotes

Sunday, April 13
8:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest/NBC Sports Network
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (40-30-11) clinched the final playoff spot in the Western Conference Friday with a 3-0 win over St. Louis before a sellout crowd at American Airlines Center. The Stars are heading to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

“Just a great feeling,” said Stars defenseman Trevor Daley, the last player left from that 2008 team. “It was a great night. The crowd was unbelievable, and they lifted us to two points tonight.”

Sunday’s game is the regular season finale for the Stars. Coach Lindy Ruff expects to rest some players and keep the ice time down for others. Forward Chris Mueller was called up from the AHL and is expected to play in the game. Defensemen Aaron Rome and Kevin Connauton, who have been healthy scratches recently, are expected to play as well.

“We’ve had several guys taking days off for maintenance, we’ll evaluate who is the worst of all those guys and give them some time off,” said Ruff. “That goes for the same with the backend. A couple of guys that haven’t played are going to play. One of our top two will not play because they have been logging some serious minutes.”

Tim Thomas is the likely starter in goal.

Injuries: F Ray Whitney (lower body) and D Brenden Dillon (lower body) are day to day. F Rich Peverley (irregular heartbeat) is out for the season.

About the Coyotes

The Coyotes (36-29-15) were eliminated from the playoff race Friday when the Stars defeated the Blues. A six-game losing streak (0-3-3) during which they scored only seven goals didn’t help the Coyotes’ cause.

“The offense really dried up these last few weeks, which is really concerning,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. “You have to earn the right to be the playoff team. Dallas got the job done and we just didn't.”

The Coyotes played late Saturday against San Jose.

Injuries: F Martin Hanzal (lower body) is questionable. G Mike Smith (lower body) and D David Schlemko (foot) are out.

Series Notes

*This is the third and final meeting between the Stars and Coyotes.

*The Stars are 2-0-0 in the season series and the Coyotes are 0-2-0.

*Feb. 4, Dallas at Phoenix: Stars 3, Coyotes 1

*Feb. 8, Phoenix at Dallas: Stars 2, Coyotes 1

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 13-9-1 since the Olympic break.

*The Stars are 8-4-0 over their last 12 games.

*The Stars have won three of their last five games on the road (3-2-0).

*The Stars are 14-2-4 vs. the Pacific Division this season.

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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