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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 8th (All times Eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (27-20-10) at Dallas Stars (26-21-10), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Phoenix Coyotes beat a number of talented teams on their recently-completed homestand, but came up short versus the Dallas Stars a few nights ago.
The Coyotes will try to avenge that setback on Saturday evening as they visit the Stars.
Phoenix went 3-2-0 on its residency, beating Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Chicago around losses to Buffalo and Dallas. The Coyotes' 2-0 win over the Central Division-leading Blackhawks last night put Phoenix into the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
Mike Smith made 30 saves for his second shutout of the season and 26th of his career. Keith Yandle scored a power-play goals and Radim Vrbata lit the lamp during a 5-on-3 advantage, while Antoine Vermette had an assist to stretch his point streak to nine straight games (8 goals, 4 assists).
"It's go-time and you need to bring your 'A' game when you play against a team like that," said Smith. "It just gives you that much more motivation and it's nice to see us pull this one here."
Phoenix upped its point total to 64, one ahead of Vancouver for eighth place in the standings. Dallas is two points back of that spot.
Forward Martin Hanzal missed last night's game due to illness, while defenseman Derek Morris exited in the first period with an upper-body ailment.
The Coyotes and Stars met for the first time this season on Tuesday, with Dallas notching a 3-1 road win. The Stars have won four of the past six meetings overall and three straight at home.
Vermette had a goal for Phoenix and Smith came up with 37 saves, while the Stars got goals by Antoine Roussel, Ryan Garbutt and Shawn Horcoff as well as 27 stops by Kari Lehtonen.
Dallas' win over Phoenix was part of a 2-0-1 road trip that concluded with Wednesday's 2-1 overtime setback to the San Jose Sharks.
Valeri Nichushkin scored the lone goal for the Stars and Lehtonen turned aside 19-of-21 shots.
"It was a good point," Stars head coach Lindy Ruff said. "If you let go of the sting of the extra point, and take a look at the road trip, getting five of six points and playing the way we did, you've got to be happy."
Dallas' first three games after the Olympic break, which begins for the league on Sunday, also are at home, while the Coyotes open a three-game road trip tonight that features trips to Winnipeg and Colorado after the hiatus.
02/08 16:03:10 ET