Stars-Coyotes Preview

Despite coming off a loss, the Dallas Stars took away some

positives from the effort.

The Stars look to continue their recent solid play and defeat

the Coyotes for a third straight time when they visit Phoenix on

Saturday night.

After a five-game losing streak during which it got outscored

21-3, Dallas won two in a row before losing 4-3 in a shootout to

Toronto on Friday. The Stars (13-8-1) rallied from a pair of

one-goal deficits to force overtime and salvage a point in the

standings, but failed to score in the shootout.

“When it comes down to a shootout, it’s a chance, and those you

kind of take with a grain of salt,” Eric Nystrom, who had two

goals, told the Stars’ official website. “We played really hard

tonight, we did a lot of good things, and we have to continue doing

that.”

Although they are 0 for 10 on the power play over their last

three games, the Stars have totaled 10 goals while averaging 34

shots in those contests. They averaged 25.4 shots on goal per game

during the losing streak.

Dallas’ latest effort came without captain Brenden Morrow, who

will also miss the next two games with an upper-body injury.

Saturday’s matchup with Phoenix figures to be closely-contested.

The last six meetings between the teams have been decided by one

goal. The Stars have won both of this season’s meetings in dramatic

fashion, scoring the tying goal in the final two minutes of

regulation each time before prevailing in shootouts.

Like Dallas, Phoenix (11-7-3) is coming off a loss. Unlike the

Stars, the Coyotes can’t take many positives away from it. They

fell 5-0 to Vancouver on Friday, managing only 22 shots against

Canucks goalie Cory Schneider. Mike Smith allowed three goals

during the second period.

“Our execution was so far below normal it wasn’t even a game,”

Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. “The execution of winning a

one-on-one battle was non-existent and we kept turning it over. …

We killed a 5-on-3, but after that scrap it.”

Radim Vrbata, who had five goals in his previous three games,

finished the night a minus-1.

It was the third shutout loss for Phoenix in 11 home games.

“The good thing is we have 24 hours, and we’re back at it

(Saturday),” left wing Raffi Torres said. “So we’ll put this behind

us.”

Jason LaBarbera could make his fifth start of the season for the

Coyotes to give Smith a rest. LaBarbera is 1-3-0 with a 3.28

goals-against average this season, most recently allowing four

goals in a 4-3 loss to Washington on Monday.

However, LaBarbera is 3-1-1 with a 1.72 GAA in his last four

starts against the Stars. Smith has been in net for both losses

this season.