Dallas Stars @ Phoenix Coyotes
9:00 P.M CT Tuesday, March 29
Maybe it’s time for the Stars to hire a motivational speaker. Yes, the ownership is in shambles and there’s no money left to spend, but Dallas needs to dig deep or else face the prospects of a three-year playoff drought. The last two games have had to be extremely draining just because of the nature of the losses. They couldn’t have picked a worse time to go on a losing streak. Before this drought, the Stars had only missed the playoffs twice (not counting the lockout) in their previous 17 seasons in Dallas. And now, the Stars (38-26-10, 86pts) are on the verge of three years with no playoff hockey as they travel to play the Phoenix Coyotes (41-25-11, 93pts).
Phoenix has also been one of the hotter teams in the league, winning 8 of their last 11 games, so Dallas gets no breaks coming into this matchup. With 93 points, Phoenix currently sits 4th in the Western Conference while Dallas languishes in 10th place with 86 points. The Stars are one point below Calgary and four points behind Chicago, their new playoff target.
Dallas has three more games to play than Calgary and Chicago is still without star center Patrick Sharp, who suffered a knee injury on March 20. So while things certainly look really bleak, there is just a sliver of a light at the end of the tunnel.
Dallas has gone 2-2-1 in the season series against Phoenix, winning the first and last matchups. Kari Lehtonen played in 4 of the 5 games and was in net for both of the wins. The one game that Andrew Raycroft started against the Coyotes, he was pulled after allowing five goals. Phoenix has a 19-13-6 record at home this year while Dallas sports a 18-15-2 record on the road. The last two meetings between these two teams anded up in tight games that were decided either in the final moments of regulation or in overtime.
In the Feb. 9 meeting, Phoenix won in overtime while in the Mar. 1 meeting, Jamie Benn scored the game-winning goal with 5 seconds left in regulation.
- The Stars will be without Adam Burrish (leg), Nick Grossman (MCL sprain), Brian Sutherby (back) and Karlis Skrastins (lacerated thigh) will be out once again. Burrish and Skrastins will be on the rest of the road trip however, in the hopes of playing in one of the later games.
- Kari Lehtonen will start again in this game and will probably only sit one last game this year. Dallas has 2 more back-to-back games this season. April 2 and 3 in Anaheim and Los Angeles and April 7 and 8 in a home and home series against Colorado. I would expect to see Raycroft in one of those games against the Avalanche.
- Steve Ott had his four game point streak snapped last game against the Predators.
- Loui Eriksson has tallied a point in each of the two games in his return from a concussion. He has 3 goals and 4 assists in the season series against Phoenix.
- Coyotes will be without D Ed Jovanovski (broken orbital bone), C Lauri Korpikoski (upper body), C Martin Hanzel (lower body) and most likely without C Vernon Fiddler (upper body).
- Keith Yandel, their leading point man, has 1 goal and 4 assists in the series while leading goal scorer Shane Doan has 3 goals and 3 assists in the series. Stopping these two guys will be the key to winning the upcoming game.
- Ilya Bryzgalov is 2-1-0 against the Stars this season with a 2.92 goals against average and a .901 save percentage.
|Game 1 at Dallas||Dallas – 6||Phoenix – 3|
|Game 2 at Phoenix||Dallas – 2||Phoenix – 5|
|Game 3 at Dallas||Dallas – 0||Phoenix – 1|
|Game 4 at Dallas (Overtime)||Dallas – 2||Phoenix – 3|
|Game 5 at Phoenix||Dallas – 3||Phoenix – 2|
|Shots on Goal Per Game||28.8||29.8|
|Penalty Minutes Per Game||10.5||15.6|
|Power Play||6 for 21 (29%)||4 for 19 (21%)|
|Last 10 Games||4-3-3||7-2-1|