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Stars-Coyotes Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Thursday, March 31

7:30 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars (46-22-9) won for the fifth time in the past six games, defeating Nashville, 5-2, at American Airlines Center Tuesday. The Stars hit the 100-point mark in a season for the first time since 2006-07.

“It’s a good accomplishment, not a lot of teams hit that,” said Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski. “We should feel good about that. The team has worked hard all year. We still have some time to add more points.”

The Stars remained ahead of St. Louis (46-22-9) in the race for first in the Central Division and Western Conference due to their 44-41 advantage in the regulation/overtime wins (ROW) tiebreaker with five games remaining in the regular season.

Defenseman Kris Russell is expected to miss a fifth straight game with a lower-body injury. Brett Ritchie is expected sit out a second straight game with a lower-body injury.

Thursday’s game concludes a two-game homestand for the Stars.

Injuries: D Kris Russell (lower body), RW Brett Ritchie (lower body), C Tyler Seguin (Achilles) and D Jason Demers (shoulder) are out.

The Coyotes (34-35-7) had a three-game winning streak snapped with a 5-2 loss to Calgary in Arizona on Monday. The Coyotes, who fell behind 1-0 in the first period, took a 2-1 lead in the second, but the Flames scored four straight goals the rest of the way.

“I don’t think we were ready. Right from the get-go, we weren’t playing our best hockey,” Coyotes forward Anthony Duclair told “We tried to play catch up, we even got a lead, but it definitely wasn’t our best effort.”

The Coyotes, who are 6-3-0 in their past nine games, are on the verge of being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who missed Monday’s game with an upper-body injury, is probable for Thursday.

Mike Smith is expected to start in goal against the Stars.

The Coyotes recalled F Eric Selleck from Springfield of the AHL on Wednesday.

Injuries: F Shane Doan (upper body) is probable. D Michael Stone (knee), G Anders Lindback (Achilles) and F Joe Vitale (concussion-related issues) are out.

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

*The Coyotes have won the first two meetings, both in Arizona.

*Feb. 18, at Arizona: Coyotes 6, Stars 3

*Mar. 24, at Arizona: Coyotes 3, Stars 1

*The Stars are 9-6-3 vs. the Pacific Division.

*The Coyotes are 8-8-1 vs. the Central Division.

*The Stars have won three straight at home and are 5-1-1 in their past seven games at American Airlines Center.

*The Coyotes are 2-1-1 in their past three on the road, but 2-10-1 in their past 13 away from home.

*The Stars have scored three goals or more in eight of their past ten games.

*The Coyotes have allowed two goals or fewer in seven of their past nine games.

*Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza have all scored 30 or more goals for the Stars this season. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the Stars are the first team with three or more 30-goal scorers in one season since 2011-12.

*Stars forward Ales Hemsky is riding a five-game points streak (two goals, three assists). Hemsky has registered 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his past 11 games.

*Coyotes forward Alex Tanguay has ten points (four goals, six assists) in 12 games since being acquired from Colorado at the NHL trade deadline.

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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