"Again (Lehtonen) was rock solid," said Ruff, an assistant coach for Canada's Olympic team. "He came up with some big saves. One when we were killing a penalty he went down low and made a glove save. He made a big stop on their breakaway when they were short-handed.
"The only thing I would like to have seen was for him to get the shutout."
Said Vrbata: "We couldn't generate too much offensively. But I think (Smith's) playing the way we know he can play. Hopefully he's going to stay like that and we can do a little better for him."
Whitney scored just 2:10 into the game and Nichushkin scored at 19:26 of the second period, deflecting in a shot by Trevor Daley.
Dallas took the early lead when Whitney carried the puck into the Phoenix zone along the left side, skated into the slot and sent a wrist shot past Smith into the upper-right corner of the net.
"It was kind of not much happening in the first period until we decided we didn't want to backcheck on a play and give them the first goal," Tippett said. "That was something we talked about as a group -- if we get behind, it's going to be much tougher on us."
The Stars ended the first period a man up and put three shots on Smith for a 7-4 edge in shots. One of Dallas' shots was short-handed, as the Stars made it difficult for the Coyotes to get out of their end.
Midway through the second period, Dallas had two good scoring chances, but Smith gloved a high drive by Sergei Gonchar and stopped a tip-in attempt by Benn in front of the goal.
Nichushkin deflected Daley's slap shot from the blue line for the rookie's 13th goal with 34 seconds left in the second period for a 1-0 lead. The goal was reviewed to see whether Nichushkin's deflection was on a high stick, but it held up.
NOTES: Whitney has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his last seven games against Phoenix. ... Coyotes D Derek Morris (upper-body injury) was inactive. He was hurt during Phoenix's victory over Chicago Friday. C Martin Hanzal, who missed that game because of illness, returned against Dallas. . The Stars entered the game allowing an average of 22.9 shots over the previous 10 games, with no more than 28 in any of those. ... Vrbata has scored three goals in the last four games. ... Saturday's game was delayed briefly in the second period when linesman Ryan Galloway was upended in a collision with Whitney along the boards. Galloway stayed in the game. ... The public address announcer saluted the five Coyotes and three Stars who will be competing in the Olympics. Smith, a former Stars goalie, received almost as strong an ovation as the Dallas players.