NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, April 13th
(All times Eastern)
Dallas Stars (40-30-11) at Phoenix Coyotes (36-30-15), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Thanks to a recent victory over one of the top teams in
the NHL, the Dallas Stars won't be fighting for their playoff lives on Sunday
Instead, the wild card winners can use this evening's matchup with the Phoenix
Coyotes as a tune up before making their first postseason appearance in six
Dallas was in a battle with Phoenix for the final wild card spot in the
Western Conference, but coupled a recent slump by the Coyotes with Friday's
3-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues to officially clinch the spot.
Thanks to 22 saves by Kari Lehtonen in his fifth shutout of the season and
27th of his career, the Stars are in the postseason for the first time since
2008. Dallas will take on the top-seeded Anaheim Ducks in the opening round.
"We believe we can win. We know how tough it is. I've been through those first
round series and they're tough," said Dallas head coach Lindy Ruff. "They're
physical and there's a lot of emotion in the first round. We've hardened
ourselves by getting in the playoffs via the route we've taken."
Tyler Seguin and Ryan Garbutt both scored while Trevor Daley supplied a goal
and an assist. Jamie Benn contributed two assists for Dallas, which won two of
three on its final homestand of the regular season.
In his first season with the Stars, Seguin leads the club with 37 goals, 47
assists and 84 points -- all career highs -- while Benn is second with 34
goals, 45 helpers and 79 points. Benn has four goals and four assists over a
five-game point streak.
The Coyotes saw their playoff-damaging losing streak reach seven straight
games (0-4-3) with last night's 3-2 setback to the San Jose Sharks. Mike Doan
and Mike Ribeiro had the goals, giving Phoenix nine tallies over its seven-
"It's a frustrating time. You're in this business to win," said Phoenix head
coach Dave Tippett. "When you're close and you're not winning, it's probably
even more frustrating. That's the worst thing about these games coming down
the stretch. We've given points away that would have certainly helped the
Mark Visentin made 29 saves to lose his NHL debut. The 27th overall pick of
the 2010 draft was recalled from the minors one day after No. 1 netminder Mike
Smith suffered a lower-body injury on March 24. Thomas Greiss started eight
games in a row in Smith's place before last night's contest.
The Coyotes are 0-2 versus the Stars this season and have lost five of the
previous seven meetings overall. Dallas snapped a four-game series road losing
streak with a 3-1 victory on Feb. 4.
04/13 11:01:44 ET