NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, November 5th (All times eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (4-4-3) at Dallas Stars (7-4-0), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Though their six-game homestand didn't get off to the best of starts, the Dallas Stars have a chance to break even on the residency this evening when they battle the Pacific Division-rival Phoenix Coyotes for the first time this season.
The Stars were outscored 11-4 in dropping the first three games of their current stay at American Airlines Center, but have responded with back-to-back wins while netting nine goals in that span.
After a 4-0 triumph over Buffalo last Saturday, Dallas skated past Pittsburgh, 5-2, on Wednesday. Loui Eriksson had a goal and one assist, scoring on his first career penalty shot to give him three goals and six points over his last four games.
Stephane Robidas added a goal and an assist, Brad Richards and Steve Ott both lit the lamp and Kari Lehtonen snapped a personal three-game losing streak with 21 saves. The netminder had been touched for nine goals in his previous two outings.
"That's the name of the game. We needed to play desperate today and other guys were stepping up where they weren't before," Eriksson said about his team's overall effort.
While the Stars hope to keep the offense going in this one, the Coyotes found goal production from an unlikely source in Wednesday's 4-3 triumph over the Predators.
Defenseman Ed Jovanovski lit the lamp just 68 seconds into the game before the 15-year veteran finished off his first career hat trick with the game-winner with 14:22 left in the game. Jovanovski came into the game with 128 tallies in 978 games, posting five multi-goal contests in that span.
Jovanovski notched the first hat trick by a defenseman in franchise history, including the club's time in Winnipeg, while Lee Stempniak added his 100th career goal in the contest.
Ilya Bryzgalov made 28 saves for the Coyotes, who have won two of three since a 1-3-3 stretch and are again trying to win consecutive games for the first time this season.
"So far we're scratching and clawing looking for points," said Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett. "Tonight we had close to what we hope our lineup will look like. So to get some rhythm in our game is very important for us."
Bryzgalov is 10-7-2 with a 2.24 goals-against average in his career versus the Stars and won three of his five outings versus them last year as the Coyotes won the season series for a third straight season. Phoenix is 13-6-1 versus Dallas in that span and has won six of its last eight at American Airlines Center.
Lehtonen has faced the Coyotes just once his in his career, a shootout loss on Feb. 19, 2009 while with the Thrashers. He stopped 37-of-40 shots faced and six of eight skaters in an eight-round shootout.
11/05 10:53:39 ET