NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 11th (All times eastern)
Dallas Stars (17-9-2) at Phoenix Coyotes (13-8-6), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Coyotes hope to snap a three-game home losing streak this evening as they battle the Pacific Division-leading Dallas Stars this evening at Jobing.com Arena.
Phoenix will play its next six games on the road after tonight's meeting and fell to 5-4-4 as the host thanks to Thursday's 3-2 setback to Minnesota. Taylor Pyatt had both goals and Ilya Bryzgalov made 30 saves for the Coyotes, who are 2-3-1 since a seven-game winning streak in mid-November.
"[We] came out a little bit flat at home. It seemed like a couple of times we were going to battle back in the game, but it just didn't happen," Pyatt told Phoenix's website. "It's definitely a disappointing game for us here at home."
Pyatt has five goals in his last eight games after scoring just once over his first 19 games. That goal came in the club's season opener on Oct. 9 and the forward has just four goals and one assist in 22 games versus the Stars.
The Stars are 9-0-1 over their last 10 home games, but play two straight and four of their next five on the road. Dallas has dropped two straight and six of its last nine as the guest and is 6-6-1 as the road club this season.
Hosting Carolina last night, Dallas skated to a 2-1 shootout victory. Brad Richards scored the lone goal of the breakaway session and Andrew Raycroft, making his second straight start with Kari Lehtonen battling back issues, made 22 saves.
"He played great," Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas said of Raycroft. "He's been really good every time he stepped in net. I think we all feel really confident. He's calm, and he's playing the puck really well."
James Neal scored in the first period for the Stars, who are 7-1-1 in their last nine overall and lead the Ducks by two points for the division's top spot. Neal has four goals and four assists over a six-game point streak.
The Stars hosted the Coyotes on Nov. 5 in the first of six meetings between the clubs this season and scored a 6-3 victory thanks to two goals each from Loui Eriksson and Richards. Lehtonen made 25 saves as Dallas beat Phoenix for the third time in four games.
The Coyotes, though, have still won seven of the last 10 meetings overall and four of the last five played at Jobing.com Arena.
Sami Lepisto and Shane Doan had the goals for Phoenix and Bryzgalov was pulled early after allowing three goals on 18 shots. He did not get a decision, though, and is 10-7-2 with a 2.33 goals-against average in his career when facing the Stars.
Raycroft, who is likely to get the call again tonight, is 1-3-1 with a 3.07 GAA in his career versus Phoenix.
12/11 10:40:33 ET