Big Points at Stake as Stars Take on Coyotes

Tuesday, 02.4.2014 / 3:03 PM CT / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Big Points at Stake as Stars Take on Coyotes

The Dallas Stars have three games remaining before the Olympic break and two of them come against the Phoenix Coyotes, a team three points ahead of them in the standings.

The Stars and Coyotes both are on the outside looking in at a playoff spot coming into tonight’s matchup in Glendale, Arizona, but both are knocking on the door. The Stars are four points out of the final wild card spot in the Western Conference and the Coyotes are just one point back. Tonight’s game is a big one for both teams. The two games against each other this week are big.

“We can set up ourselves nicely if we play well tonight,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We only worry about the one game right now. We know we’ve got them two of the next three. They’re saying the exact same thing. I would think it would make for real good games.”

“It’s pretty obvious when you look at the standings,” said Coyotes forward Lauri Korpikoski. “These are four point games.”

The Stars are making a couple of lineup changes from Saturday’s 2-0 win in Anaheim. Kari Lehtonen will be back in goal for tonight’s game. Aaron Rome will slot in on defense and Kevin Connauton will be a healthy scratch. The forward lines will remain the same.

Mike Smith will get the start in goal for the Coyotes.

Ribeiro to see Stars for first time since trade

Tonight’s game will mark the first time that Mike Ribeiro will face the Stars since the June 2012 trade that sent him from Dallas to Washington in exchange for Cody Eakin and a second round pick in 2012. Ribeiro signed with Phoenix as an unrestricted free agent last summer.

“It will be nice. It’s always fun to play against your old team and two years later I have a chance to do it,” Ribeiro said. “It’s going to be interesting to play against your old teammates. I think it is going to be a fun night.”

Ribeiro leads the Coyotes in scoring with 39 points (14 goals, 25 assists) in 55 games. Phoenix coach Dave Tippett, who coached Ribeiro several seasons in Dallas, said the skilled center has been a solid player for the Coyotes.

“It’s been pretty good. There have been a couple stretches where it has been excellent and a couple of down stretches. When you balance it all out he’s been solid,” Tippett said. “He comes into the game as our leading the scorer. The places that we needed help were the offensive side of the game and the power play. He’s the kind of player that he’ll be around the game, you won’t notice him much, but when we need a key play made at a key time, he as the ability to make those plays. Since we lost [Ray] Whitney a couple years ago, we haven’t had a player like that.”

Ribeiro played 461 games for the Stars from 2006 to 2012, registering 407 points (123 goals, 284 assists).

Tuesday’s game

Who: Dallas Stars at Phoenix Coyotes
Where: Jobing.com Arena, Glendale, AZ
When: 8 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinValeri Nichushkin
Erik ColeCody EakinRich Peverley
Antoine RousselVernon FiddlerRyan Garbutt
Ray WhitneyShawn HorcoffAlex Chiasson

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley
Jordie BennBrenden Dillon
Aaron RomeSergei Gonchar

Kari Lehtonen
Dan Ellis

Coyotes projected lineup

Lauri Korpikoski –Antoine Vermette – Mikkel Boedker
Shane Doan –Martin Hanzal – Radim Vrbata
Rob Klinkhammer – Mike Ribeiro – David Moss
Paul Bissonnette – Kyle Chipchura – Jeff Halpern

Keith Yandle – Derek Morris
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Zbynek Michalek
David Schlemko – Connor Murphy

Mike Smith

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

Thomas Greiss

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 8 5 7 7 12
J. Spezza 8 4 5 0 9
C. Eakin 8 0 7 3 7
A. Goligoski 8 3 2 -3 5
P. Eaves 7 2 3 3 5
P. Sharp 8 3 1 2 4
R. Faksa 8 2 2 2 4
J. Klingberg 8 1 3 -2 4
A. Hemsky 8 1 3 2 4
M. Janmark 7 1 3 0 4
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 4 1 0 .906 2.45
A. Niemi 1 2 2 .892 2.73
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