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NHL Game Summary - Dallas at Phoenix

(Thursday, February 9th)

Final Score: Dallas 5, Phoenix 1

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - Niko Kapanen registered his first career hat trick to lead the Dallas Stars to a 5-1 victory over the embattled Phoenix Coyotes at Glendale Arena. Legal issues involving Phoenix associate coach Rich Tocchet continue to swirl around the organization.

Bill Guerin contributed a goal and an assist while Sergie Zubov added three assists for red-hot Dallas, which has won eight of its last nine games overall. Johan Hedberg made 35 saves in the victory. Kapanen scored during even-strength play and once on the power play before his short-handed goal capped the scoring.

Geoff Sanderson tallied the only goal for Phoenix, which is falling apart at the seams both on and off the ice. The Coyotes have now lost five of their last six games. Curtis Joseph allowed five goals on 30 shots in the loss.

Earlier this week, Tocchet was identified by the New Jersey State Police and attorney general Zulima Farber for alleged involvement in a gambling ring. Tocchet requested and was granted an indefinite leave of absence by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Tocchet was forced to immediately cease all contact and communication with all league and club personnel for the duration of his departure. The leave of absence will not end without Bettman's consent.

Tocchet is expected to face charges of promoting gambling, money laundering and conspiracy and has been served a complaint summons. Coyotes head coach Wayne Gretzky's wife, actress Janet Jones, has been allegedly linked to the gambling ring as a client, but denies that her husband had any involvement.

"At no time did I ever place a wager on my husband's behalf, other than an occasional horse race," Jones said in a statement Thursday. "My husband does not bet on any sport."

Elliot Mintz, a representative of the Gretzkys, issued the following statement:

"Janet may be called as a witness before a grand jury in the New Jersey investigation of an alleged gambling ring. Janet is merely one of a number of witnesses and there is no allegation whatsoever that Janet has violated any law. Janet will continue to cooperate fully with the New Jersey authorities."

It was also reported Thursday by the Newark Star-Ledger that authorities have Gretzky on tape allegedly discussing Tocchet's gambling operation.

"I've done nothing wrong," Gretzky said. "I'm going to Italy on Sunday to be with Team Canada and to be part of the Olympic Games. I didn't bet. It's not something I have done. I appreciate everyone's support. The last three days, I have had to defend myself over something that I was never involved with."

As for the game, Dallas was in complete control.

The first of the Stars' three power-play goals came at the 7:39 mark of the opening period. A pass from along the goal line to the left of the net by Jason Arnott found Guerin and the veteran forward beat Joseph for his 10th goal.

Three Dallas goals in the middle session, two of which came on the power play, put the game away. First, at 5:33, a slap shot from the left point was saved, but the disc bounced off the shoulder of Joseph and hit the post before landing in the crease for an easy tap-in by Kapanen.

Nifty passing during a 5-on-3 advantage with 4:28 to play in the stanza led to the third Dallas tally. Zubov passed from the centerpoint down low to Jere Lehtinen, who was stationed to the left of the net. Lehtinen quickly passed into the low slot, where a one-timer by Brendan Morrow flew into the back of the cage.

With only 2.4 seconds remaining before the second intermission, the Stars took a 4-0 lead. After Joseph made a nice pad save on a one-timer from the top of the right circle, the rebound was batted home by Kapanen near the right post.

Sanderson netted the lone Phoenix goal midway through the third. The power- play marker was Sanderson's 17th of the season.

Kapanen completed his career night with a blazing wrist shot from the slot on a short-handed 2-on-1 at 15:57.

Game Notes

Dallas is now 4-2 record in 2005-06 against Phoenix and is 10-4-2 in its last 16 games in this building...The Stars were 3-for-8 on the power play, while the hosts were 1-for-7 with the extra skater...Arnott had two assists...Attendance was 14,429.

02/10 00:04:46 ET

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