Stars Face Coyotes in Key Game Before Olympic Break

Saturday, 02.8.2014 / 12:20 PM CT / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Stars Face Coyotes in Key Game Before Olympic Break

The Dallas Stars play their final game before the Olympic break tonight and it is a big one. They take on the Phoenix Coyotes, who currently hold the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and are two points ahead of the Stars.

The Coyotes took over the final wild card playoff spot in the West with a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks Friday night.

“We’re treating this as normal as we can. Talked about the importance of the game, that’s why we’re down here skating and getting ready,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “I watched the game last night. I don’t think Chicago was ready to play. I thought Phoenix really dominated the game. [The Blackhawks] had a little bit of a push back late, but for us, we’ve got an opportunity with a team that came in here late, played. We know what type of game. I don’t think it’s going to change from the game before and it’s going to be a battle where some patience at times is really going to have to pay off and at the same time we’re going to have to get around the net and make sure we’re battling for second opportunities and making it real tough on them.”

Both teams come into the game playing well defensively. The Stars have allowed just 11 goals over the last eight games for an average of 1.38 per game. Phoenix has allowed seven goals over the last five games for an average of 1.4 per game.

“I know how well they’re playing defensively right now,” said Ruff. “I think you’ve got two teams that are playing real well defensively and I don’t think that’s going to change in tonight’s game.”

The Stars are expected to go with the same lineup as Wednesday’s game in San Jose. Kari Lehtonen will get the start in goal. The forward lines are expected to be the same. Kevin Connauton is expected to play again on defense and Aaron Rome will be a scratch.

Mike Smith, who shut out Chicago Friday night, will start for the Coyotes.

Saturday’s game

Who: Phoenix Coyotes at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:00 p.m.
TV: TXA-21
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars projected lineup

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

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley
Jordie BennBrenden Dillon
Kevin ConnautonSergei Gonchar

Kari Lehtonen
Dan Ellis

Coyotes projected lineup

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

Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Zbynek Michalek
Keith Yandle – Connor Murphy
David Schlemko – Michael Stone

Mike Smith
Thomas Greiss

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.

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 10 5 9 6 14
J. Spezza 10 4 7 2 11
C. Eakin 10 1 7 2 8
P. Sharp 10 4 2 1 6
R. Faksa 10 3 2 2 5
A. Goligoski 10 3 2 -5 5
P. Eaves 7 2 3 3 5
J. Klingberg 10 1 3 -3 4
A. Hemsky 10 1 3 -1 4
M. Janmark 9 1 3 -1 4
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 5 1 0 .906 2.58
A. Niemi 1 3 2 .872 3.33
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