Coyotes hope to put the clamps on high-scoring Stars

For the Arizona Coyotes to stay relevant in the race for the NHL playoffs, they’ll need to start stacking some wins.

The Coyotes had their highest scoring output of the season in Monday’s 6-2 win over Montreal, and they’ll try to make it two in a row Thursday night as the high-scoring Dallas Stars visit Gila River Arena.

The Coyotes haven’t won two in a row since Jan. 23 and 25.

The game can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona, starting at 6:30 p.m.

"These are games we have to have now," center Martin Hanzal said. "Everybody knows where we are in the standings."


The Coyotes (26-24-6) are four points behind Nashville for the final playoff spot in the West, in 10th place overall.

Hanzal and Oliver Ekman-Larsson each had a goal with two assists in Monday’s victory.

"We were talking before the game about going hard to the net and making it hard on the goalie," said Hanzal, who has three goals in the last four games. "We were ready from the beginning."

With two power-play goals against the Canadiens, Arizona is 9 for 27 in the past six games, with Ekman-Larsson scoring three of those goals and assisting on five others. Ekman-Larsson leads the team with 44 points, and his 17 goals, second to Shane Doan’s 21, rank second among all NHL defensemen. Eleven of his 17 goals have come on the power play.

"We’re going to have to play better than we did against Montreal," Ekman-Larsson said. "I thought we did a couple good things, but we have to step up our game.

"Dallas is going to come in here and play a tougher, quicker game, so we have to be ready for that and defend a little better."

The Stars will be closing out a three-game road trip by playing the Coyotes for the first time this season. Dallas (37-15-6) is coming off a 2-1 overtime loss at St. Louis on Tuesday night but has earned a point in five consecutive games.

The Stars were 0 for 7 on the power play in Tuesday’s loss.

"That’s a good point coming off the back-to-back," coach Lindy Ruff said. "I thought we played a smart game. If our execution was a little better we would have come out of there with two."

Though its five-game road winning streak ended with a season-low 18 shots, Dallas remains confident while amid a 7-1-1 stretch.

"It didn’t go our way, but we’ve got to keep moving on," said Kari Lehtonen, who made 20 saves.

Lehtonen is 3-0-1 with a 2.46 goals-against average as a starter this month. Lehtonen has won his last five starts against Arizona while allowing six goals, and he stopped 32 shots in the teams’ last meeting, a 6-0 Dallas victory on New Year’s Eve 2014.