Stars Move Closer to Playoff Spot With Win Over Coyotes

Wednesday, 02.5.2014 / 12:05 AM CT / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Stars Move Closer to Playoff Spot With Win Over Coyotes

The Dallas Stars moved closer to the final playoff spot in the Western Conference Tuesday night, defeating the Phoenix Coyotes, 3-1, at Arena. Antoine Roussel’s goal early in the third period snapped a 1-1 tie and held up as the game-winner for the Stars, who moved to within two points of the final wild card spot in the West.

"We knew that was one of the biggest games of the year," said Roussel. "We didn't start the way we wanted, but the third period was really good for us and we got the win. The last 10 minutes we locked it down and didn't give them much."

Said Stars coach Lindy Ruff: “It was what we talked about this morning; it was two teams that are pretty similar. Somebody is going to take advantage of an opportunity and we were able to push through.”

On hand to watch the victory were fathers of several of the players, who are on the Phoenix and San Jose legs of this road trip.

“It was a big win for us tonight,” said Stars forward Ryan Garbutt. “We had the dads in town and it was a fun game for the guys to play in. It’s kind of nice for us to be on a roll right now.”

Shawn Horcoff and Garbutt also scored and Kari Lehtonen stopped 27 of 28 shots for the Stars, who improved to 5-1-1 over their last seven games, allowing just nine goals over that stretch.

“It’s just working hard in your own end. The guys are coming to play every night, everyone is working hard and it’s fun to be a part of,” said Garbutt. “It’s pretty easy when you have a goaltender like Kari Lehtonen in net.”

The Stars remain in 10th place in the West, but moved to within one point of ninth-place Phoenix and to within two points of Vancouver, which holds the final wild card spot. The Stars can move into a playoff spot based on points percentage with a win in San Jose on Wednesday.

The Coyotes, who were coming off an impressive victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday, lost an opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the Stars.

“It all comes down to how you play,” said Coyotes coach Dave Tippett. “The Pittsburgh game we played pretty solid and did good things with the puck and won enough one-on-one battles, too, and stayed competitive in the game. Tonight was the exact opposite. (We) turned over a lot of pucks and in the one-on-one battles just didn’t do enough to give ourselves a better chance to win.”

Both teams had good looks in the first period, but there was no scoring. Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith made a sharp glove save on Rich Peverley off the rush. Lehtonen stopped a Martin Hanzal bid from the slot.

The Stars went on their second power play early in the second, had some good pressure but couldn’t take advantage. Lehtonen came up big, stopping Coyotes forward David Moss on a breakaway 4:50 into the second.

The Coyotes got the game’s first goal at 9:18 of the second when Antoine Vermette stole the puck in the neutral zone, broke in on net and beat Lehtonen with a backhand shot to put Phoenix up 1-0.

The Stars answered a little more than three minutes later, cashing in on their third power play of the game. After blocking a clearing attempt, Horcoff went to the front of the net, took a centering pass from Tyler Seguin and beat Smith with a close range backhand shot to make it a 1-1 game at the 12:32 mark of the second period.

The Stars took the lead 3:25 into the third period, capitalizing on a Coyotes turnover and bad line change. The end result was Garbutt setting up Roussel, who scored from the slot to put the Stars up 2-1.

Smith made several sharp saves to keep the Coyotes within a goal, but his team couldn’t come deliver the equalizer and Garbutt scored into an empty net with 26.7 seconds left to seal the win for the Stars, who wrap up the road trip Wednesday night in San Jose.

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 reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.




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


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A. Goligoski 13 4 3 -6 7
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R. Faksa 13 3 2 2 5
M. Janmark 12 2 3 -3 5
C. Sceviour 11 2 3 1 5
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