Stars-Coyotes Preview

The Phoenix Coyotes and Dallas Stars each dropped their most

recent games, but one team will likely be more desperate to bounce

back Tuesday night.

As they try to climb back into playoff position, the Stars will

attempt to avoid a damaging fourth consecutive loss when they visit

the short-handed Coyotes, who look to remain fourth in the Western


Phoenix (41-25-11) fell 4-1 to San Jose on Saturday after going

8-1-1 in its previous 10 games. After practice Monday, Coyotes

coach Dave Tippett had put that loss behind and was focused on the

upcoming matchup.

Tippett’s club is six points ahead of ninth-place Calgary and

seven up on Dallas in 10th.

“If we can win this game, it puts (the Stars) nine points behind

us. That’s a big hill for them to climb,” the former Dallas coach

said. “There’s still some teams behind us, but we’ve got to take

care of ourselves. When you beat teams that are under you in the

standings, that’s moving forward.”

The Stars, meanwhile, were trying to stay positive following a

4-2 defeat at fellow playoff contender Nashville on Saturday.

Brenden Morrow scored the tying goal in the second period, but

Dallas was blanked over the final 35:53.

“We have to stay up. We can’t get down,” defenseman Trevor Daley

told the team’s website Monday. “Everybody’s got to be positive and

we’ve got to be excited. That’s when we play our best, when we’re

positive, excited and going. So that’s what we’ve got to do.”

Dallas has fallen from fourth in the West on March 11 to its

current position during a 1-3-2 stretch, but Brad Richards said his

team isn’t panicking yet.

“You definitely start to feel that you’ve got to get some wins

here, that’s for sure,” Richards told the team’s website.

Dallas (38-26-10) will try to earn one of those wins against a

Coyotes team that might not have Martin Hanzal, Lauri Korpikoski

and Vernon Fiddler due to injuries.

Phoenix, though, does head into this game after getting

consecutive days off for the first time since March 11-12. After

facing Dallas, the Coyotes will play once in seven days. Captain

Shane Doan said he hoped the lighter schedule would help his


“Not playing today was huge,” he said Monday. “To have two days

off where we could be at home was nice. We have a big game coming

up. … It’s going to be a business-like, hard game.”

The Stars will also attempt to add to Ilya Bryzgalov’s struggles

from Saturday. The Phoenix goaltender, though, had a 1.29

goals-against average over seven games before giving up four goals

to San Jose.

Bryzgalov couldn’t stop Jamie Benn from scoring with 4.8 seconds

left in regulation during a 3-2 home loss to Dallas on March 1.

The Stars’ second win in three trips to Phoenix also snapped

their three-game slide in the series.

Doan will try to help his team claim this matchup by adding to

his team-best six points (three goals, three assists) against

Dallas this season. The Coyotes likely will face Kari Lehtonen, who

has given up seven goals over his last two starts.

Lehtonen is 2-1-1 with a 2.27 GAA against Phoenix this


The Stars’ Loui Eriksson has five goals and five assists in his

past eight games versus the Coyotes, while Richards has three goals

and five assists in his last seven.