NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, December 16th
(All times eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (14-13-3) at Dallas Stars (11-14-4), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Already having the fewest points in the Western Conference,
the Stars don't need anymore distractions. Dallas officially moves on from
Sean Avery tonight when they take on the Phoenix Coyotes at American Airlines
The Stars made a surprise run to the Western Conference finals last year,
where as the fifth seed they lost to Detroit in six games, but have struggled
to a 11-14-4 mark this year.
One move Dallas made in the offseason to try and get better was the signing of
Avery to a four-year, $15.5 million deal. The gamble did not pay off, as the
known agitator was suspended for six games earlier this month for crude
comments made about his ex-girlfriends dating other NHL players.
Avery, who tallied three goals and seven assists along with 77 penalty minutes
in 23 games this year, is eligible to return from the ban tonight, but the
club has already decided that Avery will not return to the team. The details
of that transaction have yet to be worked out, though.
Dallas, which has won back-to-back games just once this year, is 2-3-0 in its
last five games following Saturday's 3-0 loss to Nashville on Saturday. The
Stars failed to get any of their 27 shots past former Dallas netminder Dan
Making his first start since October 31, Tobias Stephan was sharp between the
pipes, stopping 35 shots for the Stars. Marty Turco had started the last 17
games and is 10-12-4 with a 3.32 goals against average this year. He had a
2.32 GAA last season.
The Stars have won three of their last four at home, where they are 5-5-3 this
season. They host Columbus on Thursday.
The Coyotes are also struggling, having lost three of their last five games as
well. They were last in action on Saturday, dropping a 5-4 shootout decision
to Detroit to end a two-game win streak.
Netminder Ilya Bryzgalov stopped the Red Wings' first skater, but was then
beaten by Henrik Zetterberg. After the next three players failed to score,
Jiri Hudler beat Bryzgalov, and Chris Osgood stopped Phoenix captain Shane
Doan to preserve Detroit's 20th victory of the season.
Joakim Lindstrom and Mikkel Boedker each posted a goal and an assist for the
Coyotes, giving Lindstrom two goals and an assist in three games since being
acquired from Anaheim. Ed Jovanovski recorded two helpers, while Bryzgalov
finished with 34 saves. Doan and Steven Reinprecht also scored.
Phoenix is 5-9-1 on the road this season.
These two Pacific Division rivals have split two meetings so far this year,
with each team winning on enemy ice. The Coyotes have won four of the last six
in the series and three straight in Dallas.
12/16 10:54:38 ET