Coyotes 5, Stars 2
Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov was all that stood between the Dallas Stars and their chance to make franchise history. The Russian netminder didn't budge.
Bryzgalov made 32 saves -- including 26 over the final two periods -- in Phoenix's 5-2 win over the Stars on Thursday at Jobing.com Arena, and denied Dallas' bid to set a team record with its eighth straight win. After capturing seven consecutive games, Dallas lost for just the third time in the past 13 contests.
"Tonight shows how hard we have to play every night in order to win," center Mike Modano said. "We need to be more disciplined and can't just sit back and rely on our skill. We didn't play with enough desperation."
Jussi Jokinen and Matt Niskanen
scored for the Stars, who also had their five-game road winning streak snapped to end two road victories shy of tying another franchise mark. Goalie Marty Turco finished with 22 saves, and was foiled in his attempt to win his 200th career NHL win.
The Stars, though, remained four points of second-place Anaheim in the Pacific Division, and five in front of San Jose, pending the Sharks late game on Thursday against Edmonton.
Radim Vrbata and Shane Doan had a goal and two assists each for the Coyotes, who won for the first time in five games. Daniel Carcillo, Niko Kapanen and Nick Boynton also scored for Phoenix.
"We didn't do enough to win, simple as that," coach Dave Tippett said. "They had all the little parts of their game working and dictated play. The bottom line is we have to recognize our opponent's desperation, and if you're not willing to match it, you aren't going to succeed."
After he nearly single-handedly snapped the Stars six-game winning streak with a 42-save performance in Dallas' 2-1 win on Monday, Bryzgalov continued to frustrate the Stars, who once again threw everything at the goaltender only to be thwarted time and again.
Following their second consecutive slow start, the Stars started to trot midway through the first before going into an all-out gallop in the latter stages of the game. But with every burst of momentum that preceded quality scoring chances, Bryzgalov was there to frustrate the Dallas offense.
"We were on our heels from the start, got behind, and kept taking penalties," captain Brenden Morrow
said. "We didn't earn our calls tonight and didn't capitalize on our scoring chances. We competed hard in some areas, but we lacked desperation. We have to start a new winning streak."
Up 3-1 after two periods, the Coyotes took a commanding lead after Vrbata's short-handed goal 5:22 into the third. Stephane Robidas
was unable to hold the puck in at the left point, and Vrbata then outraced Robidas to the puck in the neutral zone to go in on a partial breakaway. Vrbata moved to his backhand and lifted the puck over a sprawling Turco.
Niskanen gave the Stars some life when he cut the deficit to 4-2 with his sixth goal with 10:38 left. The rookie defenseman's wrist shot from the right point eluded Bryzgalov, who was being screened by Mike Ribeiro
Boynton capped the scoring with an empty-net goal with 60 seconds to go.
"We didn't execute and we didn't do the little things," Tippett said. "We have to play desperate, and that's not going to change, even if we win another seven in a row."
Phoenix opened the scoring when Doan notched his 19th at 11:29 of the first period. Doan, returning after missing Monday's game in Dallas because of a groin injury, ripped a slap shot past Turco from the lower portion of the left circle.
Jokinen tied it with his 14th over two minutes later after picking Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle's pocket. Yandle took a couple of strides away from the goal line just to the left of Bryzgalov, but Jokinen deftly lifted up Yandle's stick from behind to take the puck away. Jokinen twirled and shot all in one motion, and lifted a wrister over Bryzgalov's left shoulder.
Carcillo restored Phoenix's one-goal lead with his sixth of the year with 3:28 remaining in the opening frame. After Steven Reinprecht was able to knock defenseman Nicklas Grossman
off the puck at the endboards, Carcillo grabbed it and skated to the side of the net. He then whipped a shot from in tight that snuck past Turco.
The Stars dodged a bullet late in the period when Mattias Norstrom was whistled for a holding penalty to put the Coyotes on a 29-second two-man advantage. Dallas' No. 1 rated penalty-killing unit easily erased the opportunity.
The second period belonged to Bryzgalov, who continued to stymie the Stars at every turn. His best save came with about 13 minutes to go in the middle frame when he lunged to his right to amazingly turn aside Modano's slapper from the left circle that seemed destined to go into the net.
Kapanen helped his goalie out when he scored his eighth with just 1:18 left in the second to make the score 3-1. The former Star jammed home a rebound off Craig Weller's shot from the slot.
The Stars will complete their short two-game road trip when they take on the Ducks in Anaheim on Friday night (9 p.m. FSN). Anaheim has been idle since winning its fifth straight on Tuesday, a 2-1 win over Colorado. The game also marked the end of Anaheim's franchise-high nine-game road trip.
The two teams will have only two more games against each other following Friday's tilt. Dallas has taken four of the first five meetings between the two teams this season.
--Modano played in his 1,299th career NHL game. He remains tied with Jean Ratelle for 33rd place on the all-time NHL points list with 1,267.
--Jokinen has two goals in the past three games.
--Of the five games played between Dallas and Phoenix, the winner has scored five goals in four of the contests.
--Loui Eriksson assisted on Niskanen's goal, and has three points in his last four games.
--The Stars last loss on the road prior to Thursday was in Anaheim on Jan. 15.
--Morrow also assisted on Niskanen's tally, and has seven points in his last seven games.
--The Coyotes went 1-for-6 on the power play, while the Stars were 0-for-3.
|Three star selections