NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, February 4th
(All times Eastern)
Dallas Stars (25-21-9) at Phoenix Coyotes (26-19-10), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Dallas Stars hope to post a second straight win as
they continue a three-game road trip with Tuesday's battle against the Phoenix
The Stars opened their swing on Saturday by downing the Anaheim Ducks, 2-0, at
Honda Center. It was only Anaheim's third regulation loss of the season at
home and it also marked the first time in 2013-14 that a team was able to shut
out the NHL-leading Ducks.
Dallas backup goaltender Dan Ellis made 26 saves to record his first shutout
of the season and anchor the 2-0 victory in Orange County. Trevor Daley and
Jamie Benn scored for the Stars, who snapped a two-game slide and improved to
4-1-1 over their last six games.
"We've been playing a lot better hockey lately. More so just sticking to the
way that gives us success," Ellis said.
Although Ellis was able to post the shutout on Saturday, the Stars are likely
to return to No. 1 netminder Kari Lehtonen in the crease tonight. Lehtonen is
7-3-4 with a 2.27 goals against average and a .926 save percentage in 15
career games against the Coyotes.
Both Dallas and the Coyotes enter this evening's battle trying to improve
their playoff chances. Phoenix is currently three points ahead of the Stars in
the West standings, but is one point out of the conference's eighth and final
Phoenix is 5-1-2 over its last eight encounters against the Stars overall and
Dallas has lost four straight in the desert. This evening's tilt is the first
of three scheduled meetings between the clubs this season.
The Coyotes also picked up a win on Saturday, as they notched a 3-1 decision
over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. Mike Smith stopped 23 shots to help
Phoenix frustrate the Eastern Conference-leading Pens.
Mike Ribeiro had a goal and an assist, while Radim Vrbata and Zbynek Michalek
also scored for the Coyotes, who had dropped four of six tilts coming into
Saturday's showdown with Pittsburgh.
"This was one of the more complete games we've played this year, that's for
sure," said Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett. "Everybody was real competitive
and it was a fast game."
The Coyotes improved to 2-1-0 on a five-game homestand that is set to end
Friday night against Chicago. Phoenix will play its final tilt before the
NHL's Olympic break Saturday in Dallas.
The Stars will complete a three-game road trip tomorrow evening in San Jose
before ending its pre-Olympic schedule in Saturday's rematch against the
Phoenix is 16-9-3 as the host this season, while Dallas is 12-12-3 on the
02/04 10:55:31 ET