Coyotes 3, Stars 0

Take it from Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith: Life is much

easier in the NHL with a little help from your friends.

Smith made 26 saves and the Coyotes clamped down with a team

defensive effort to help Smith get his second shutout of the season

in a 3-0 win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.

”The guys in front of me were great,” said Smith. ”They

cleared the puck all night and let me see the puck. They had my

back and that’s what it takes to win hockey games.”

The win was the first for Phoenix against Dallas this season

after dropping two games in overtime to the Stars.

Smith, who blanked the Sharks in San Jose on Nov. 12, improved

to 11-4-3 this season with his 13th career shutout.

After a 5-0 loss to Vancouver on home ice the night before,

Smith rebounded with a solid effort and needed to stop only 14

shots through the first two periods.

”What I like about Mike is his consistency and how he handles

himself,” said Coyotes coach Dave Tippett. ”That’s why he’s a big

part of what we’re doing now.”

Mikkel Boedker scored in the first, Ray Whitney in the second

and Taylor Pyatt in the final period for the Coyotes, who took 14

of their 22 shots in the opening session.

Phoenix took an early lead when Boedker poked in a loose puck in

the crease for his fourth goal of the season with less than 5

minutes remaining in the opening period.

The goal came against reserve goalie Andrew Raycroft, who

replaced starter Kari Lehtonen about 5:30 into the game. Phoenix

defenseman Derek Morris’s slap shot caught Lehtonen on the right

knee just above the goalie pad. The play was called for an offside

but Morris’ shot came just before the whistle sounded.

After being helped off the ice, Lehtonen immediately went to the

locker room and did not return. Coming into the game, he had a 1.98

goal against average in seven road games.

”We didn’t have it,” said Raycroft. ”Phoenix is tough when

they play hard down low and that’s what happened. They took it to

us but we’ll have to be ready (for Monday’s game at


The Stars also lost both defenseman Trevor Daley and forward

Vernon Fiddler to upper-body injuries. Neither returned.

Early in the middle period, Whitney’s one-timer off a Radim

Vrbata pass just over 6 minutes into the session pushed the Phoenix

lead to 2-0.

Midway through the final period, Pyatt converted a rebound off

Daymond Langkow’s shot for his third goal of the season.

”After the way we played against Vancouver, we needed to come

back,” Langkow said. ”Once you’re in a slide it can snowball, so

we needed to stop it and we rebounded with a strong game.”

Notes: For the third straight game, the Stars were without

captain Brenden Morrow (upper-body injury), who was placed on

injured reserve. . Langkow returned to the Phoenix lineup after

missing eight games due to a death in his family. He picked up two

assists for his first multi-point game of the season. . D Keith

Yandle’s two assists were his sixth multi-point game of the season.

. Against the Coyotes, Dallas began a stretch where its plays seven

of its next nine on the road.