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Stars Face Coyotes in Key Game Before Olympic Break

Saturday, 02.08.2014 / 1:20 PM / 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.

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 ANA 50 32 12 6 147 134 70
2 NSH 48 31 11 6 145 115 68
3 STL 48 31 13 4 156 117 66
4 CHI 50 31 17 2 155 115 64
5 SJS 50 27 17 6 139 135 60
6 WPG 51 26 17 8 142 132 60
7 VAN 47 27 17 3 129 120 57
8 CGY 50 27 20 3 144 129 57
9 LAK 49 21 16 12 134 132 54
10 DAL 49 23 19 7 157 159 53
11 COL 50 21 18 11 131 141 53
12 MIN 48 22 20 6 131 138 50
13 ARI 49 17 26 6 113 168 40
14 EDM 50 13 28 9 115 166 35

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Seguin 49 28 28 1 56
J. Benn 49 16 29 -2 45
J. Spezza 49 9 27 -6 36
T. Daley 46 12 13 -8 25
J. Klingberg 35 9 15 9 24
E. Cole 44 12 11 3 23
A. Goligoski 49 1 22 9 23
A. Roussel 49 11 11 -2 22
C. Eakin 46 9 13 7 22
A. Hemsky 46 8 12 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 21 11 7 .905 2.96
A. Lindback 2 7 0 .875 3.79
 
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