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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 NSH 63 41 15 7 191 151 89
2 ANA 63 39 17 7 186 176 85
3 STL 62 40 18 4 192 153 84
4 CHI 63 37 21 5 183 150 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 62 33 22 7 176 161 73
8 LAK 61 29 20 12 164 157 70
9 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
10 SJS 63 30 25 8 175 181 68
11 COL 63 27 25 11 167 182 65
12 DAL 62 27 25 10 195 207 64
13 ARI 63 20 36 7 138 214 47
14 EDM 63 18 35 10 143 208 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 62 23 37 -1 60
T. Seguin 55 29 30 0 59
J. Spezza 62 15 37 -3 52
E. Cole 57 18 15 4 33
T. Daley 59 16 16 -9 32
J. Klingberg 48 10 22 2 32
C. Eakin 59 14 14 -2 28
A. Hemsky 56 9 17 -7 26
A. Goligoski 62 2 24 2 26
A. Roussel 60 12 11 -11 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 25 13 10 .905 2.97
J. Enroth 13 24 2 .900 3.31
 
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