GLENDALE - The Dallas Stars were looking for some more late-game magic on Saturday night. Unfortunately the desert proved barren.
Two days after erasing a two-goal, third period deficit in a shootout win over San Jose, the Stars' prayers went unanswered when they tried to repeat the feat in a 3-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena.
After Radim Vrbata made it 3-1 with a goal just 3:35 into the third, the Stars put forth an attack that came up just short following Matt Niskanen's goal that made it 3-2 with just under 13 minutes left in regulation.
Mike Modano had a goal and assist, and Marty Turco finished with 28 saves in Dallas' second loss in the last three games.
Robert Lang led the Phoenix assault with a goal and assist, and David Schlemko also scored for the Coyotes, who won for just the second time in their last six games.
Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who came in with the second-lowest GAA in the league (2.05) made 26 saves.
"We gave them too much room," defenseman Stephane Robidas said. "They skate and they can make plays, and they pass the puck real well."
The Stars had their opportunities in the third period to tie, including four power-play chances as well as a playing the last 1:05 with a 6-on-4 advantage after pulling Turco. But the Coyotes' defense tightened up and didn't allow anything to get through to Bryzgalov.
Dallas took three shots toward the Phoenix net during the final 65 seconds, and all three were blocked before getting to the net.
James Neal nearly tied it with 10 minutes left in regulation, but his snap shot from point-blank range rang off the post.
The Stars were facing former coach Dave Tippett for the first time since he was let go in the offseason. Tippett was hired by the Coyotes only a couple of weeks before the start of the season to replace Wayne Gretzky.
Up 2-1 after 40 minutes, the Coyotes extended their lead when Vrbata easily tapped in Keith Yandle's pass from the right circle for his fifth of the season. Vrbata was standing to the right of Turco, and actually fanned slightly on the puck before it went in.
Niskanen got Dallas back in it with his first of the year at 7:02 of the third while Dallas was on the power play. From the right point, Niskanen let a wrist shot go that got through a plethora of bodies to get past Bryzgalov.
After a scoreless first period, the Coyotes drew first blood on Lang's fifth goal of the year just 12 seconds into the second period. Peter Mueller's wraparound attempt was denied by Turco, but the rebound popped out to Lang in the low slot. Lang promptly whacked it in with a backhand to give Phoenix a 1-0 edge.
Modano tied it at 1-1 six minutes later when he scored his second goal in as many games. Mike Ribeiro started the play by streaking down the right boards before stopping a couple of strides inside the Coyotes blue line. The slick playmaker then slid the puck to Modano, who quickly flicked a backhand from the right circle that eluded Bryzgalov.
Midway through the middle frame, Phoenix captain Shane Doan was awarded a penalty shot when he was hooked and impeded by Robidas as he went in alone on Turco from the blue line. Doan's try failed, as he lost control of the puck after going to his forehand on a deke attempt.
"That was totally my fault," Robidas said. "I was sleeping on that play and was a little too wide and gave him the middle a little too much."
The Coyotes ended the period the way they began it, as the rookie Schlemko potted his first career NHL goal with just 24.3 seconds left in the second. Schlemko let a wrist shot go along the ice from the left circle that clanked off the inner portion of the left post and into the net behind Turco.
The clubs played a scoreless first period, but it was hardly without any action. Dallas peppered Bryzgalov with 11 shots, while Turco was able to turn aside 12 Coyotes attempts.
The Stars will conclude their four-game road trip when they travel to Detroit to play the Red Wings on Wednesday (6:30, FSN). It will be the first contest between the two rivals, and the first of two meetings they will have before the month of November is up.
--Left wing Fabian Brunnstrom missed his second game because of an upper body injury.