NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, February 18th
(All times Eastern)
Dallas Stars (29-25-3) at Phoenix Coyotes (28-21-9), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Dallas Stars are hoping to break out of a small slump
this evening in Phoenix. The Coyotes have been anything but a struggling team
The Coyotes look to extend a season-high seven-game point streak this evening
versus the Stars, having gone 6-0-1 over that time. Having notched a possible
13 of 14 points in February has Phoenix tied with Los Angeles for the seventh
spot in the Western Conference, two ahead of ninth-place Calgary. The Coyotes
also sit four points behind the Sharks for first place in the Pacific
After a shootout loss to Vancouver on Monday snapped a five-game win streak,
Phoenix rebounded on Thursday with a 1-0 victory over Los Angeles. Mike Smith
made 28 saves for his second straight shutout, fourth of the season and 15th
of his career.
Smith, who was rested on Monday in favor of backup Jason LaBarbera, had logged
38 saves to blank the Blackhawks last Saturday and has won a career-high six
straight games. He hasn't lost since Jan. 31 and brings a consecutive shutout
streak of 138 minutes and 49 seconds into tonight's contest.
"This was a whole team effort and we're finding a way to win," said Smith.
"The last few minutes were frantic, but I thought we handled it pretty good."
Radim Vrbata had the lone goal on Thursday for the Coyotes, who have won four
straight at home. They could be without Rostisalv Klesla tonight after he
suffered an upper-body injury versus the Kings. Derek Morris (illness) and
Taylor Pyatt (upper body) are also questionable.
The Stars come into this meeting four points behind the Coyotes and Kings in
the standings. They snapped a three-game slide with Thursday's 3-2 overtime
triumph against the visiting Flames.
After getting regulation goals from Adam Burish and Steve Ott, Mike Ribeiro
scored the winner in overtime at the 2:01 mark.
"For us, I mean the points are so ridiculously close right now," said Ott.
"What a sick individual play by Mike Ribeiro to cap off a big goal."
The Stars were able to gut out a win despite losing leading scorer Jamie Benn
to a leg laceration in the second period. Benn has a team-high 49 points,
including 17 goals.
"It's a pretty decent-size cut," said Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan. "He's
just going to be day-to-day. There's a possibility he could play, probably not
[Saturday] in Phoenix, but maybe here on Sunday [versus Nashville]."
Defenseman Sheldon Souray, meanwhile, has missed the past four with a bruised
foot, while fellow blueliner and pending free agent Nicklas Grossman was dealt
to Philadelphia on Thursday for a pair of draft picks: A second-rounder in
2012 and a third-round selection the following year.
The Coyotes are 2-0-2 versus the Stars this season, winning two straight after
a pair of shootout losses. Phoenix is 6-1-2 in the past nine encounters
02/18 10:53:54 ET