NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, April 4th (All times eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (37-37-6) at Dallas Stars (44-29-7), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - While the Dallas Stars' first-round matchup for the playoffs is set, there is still the little matter of home-ice advantage. The club will try to secure some extra games in Texas tonight as they host the Phoenix Coyotes at American Airlines Center.
After Thursday's 4-2 win over the Coyotes in the opener of this home-and-home set, the Stars will face the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks in the opening round. However, the fifth-seeded Stars can still catch the Ducks in the standings, meaning home-ice is still on the line.
Dallas has 95 points with two games to play, three back of Anaheim, which is idle tonight. A loss by the Stars tonight or a win by the Ducks on Saturday will lock Anaheim into the fourth seed.
In last night's test, Brenden Morrow had a goal and an assist to run his point streak to six games (5g, 2a). Matt Niskanen, Stephane Robidas and Mike Modano also scored for the Stars, while Johan Holmqvist made 21 saves in the victory, just Dallas' second in eight contests. The Stars have not won back-to-back tests since a four-game win streak to end February.
Philippe Boucher assisted on Niskanen's goal for his 200th career helper.
The Stars played without Brad Richards (body soreness) and leading point scorer Mike Ribeiro (flu), and both players are questionable for tonight.
Dallas ended the road portion of its regular season and closes out the campaign with two straight tests at home, where the club has lost three straight. The Stars host San Jose on Sunday and are 22-15-2 at home this year.
Enver Lisin and Keith Ballard notched goals in the third period on Thursday for the Coyotes, who are 1-7-1 in their last nine games. Ilya Bryzgalov had 32 saves in defeat.
The game marked the debut of 18-year-old center Kyle Turris, who had 22 shifts and five shots on net in nearly 20 minutes of ice time. The 2007 first-round draft pick for the Coyotes signed an entry-level contract on Monday, one day after his University of Wisconsin team was eliminated in the NCAA Hockey playoffs. He centered the top line with captain Shane Doan and fellow teenager Peter Mueller.
Phoenix has lost four straight on the road and is 20-17-2 as the visiting team this season. The Coyotes end their season in Anaheim on Sunday.
Phoenix has still won four of seven versus Dallas this year, but the Stars have won six of 10 and 11 of the past 16 meetings. Dallas has claimed a victory in five of its last eight as the host against Phoenix.
04/04 10:51:36 ET