Phoenix Coyotes @ Dallas Stars Preview: For The Division Lead!

It doesn't get much bigger than this folks. Tonight, in Dallas, the Phoenix Coyotes will be facing off against the Dallas Stars, with the winner getting taking the lead of the division with only 8 games remaining the in the regular season. To add to that suspense, a regulation loss for one team will mean that they are knocked out of the top 8. And if that wasn't enough to add to the suspense of the game, this game will be at the national stage on NBC Sports.

The Coyotes have won 3 of the 5 games that they have played against the Stars and they took them to the shootout for the other two games. The Yotes are going to be coming in with some momentum they came from behind and beat the Edmonton Oilers in the shootout on Sunday. The Coyotes continue to have problems scoring first and they continue to chase the game, although they have been finding ways to win lately.

The Dallas Stars had been hot this month but they are starting to cool off a little, they dropped their last two against Winnipeg and Chicago. To be fair the Stars did lose to the Jets at home, and the Jets have dominated games at home so we can't assume they are cooling off just yet, especially since they have only lost two games this month. The Stars have had problems scoring first (sound familiar?) and they have not scored in first period in 9 of their last 10 games.

Five For Winning

1. Score first. The Stars are weak in the first period so the Yotes may be able to take advantage of this and get an early goal and lead the game for once.

2. Be ready for a physical game. With both of these teams playing for the Pacific Division lead you can expect the Stars to come out fighting, both figuratively and literally.

3. Keep it in regulation. The Stars have games in hand against the Yotes, any points you give them will aide them in a potential comeback.

4. Shots from everyone. It doesn't matter who is scoring the goals just as long as someone does. Previous goal scorers against the Stars include people like Taylor Pyatt and Derek Morris along with the usual suspects like Raffi Torres and Radim Vrbata. Everyone should be taking shots.

5. Just win. This is a must win game. That's how the Yotes need to play.

Key Players


Raffi Torres

#37 / Left Wing / Phoenix Coyotes

6-0

216

Oct 08, 1981



G A P +/- PIM
2011 - Raffi Torres 14 8 22 -2 50

Torres has been the player to watch especially in the third. He says that he likes big games and it doesn't get much bigger than this one.


Radek Dvorak

#20 / Right Wing / Dallas Stars

6-2

200

Mar 09, 1977



G A P +/- PIM
2011 - Radek Dvorak 4 17 21 -13 12

Radek Dvorak will be returning tonight against the Coyotes, he last played against Anaheim on March 10th. Look for him to try to make a big return.

Likely Starting Goalies


Mike Smith

#41 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes

6-4

215

Mar 22, 1982



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2011 - Mike Smith 59 3413 32 18 134 2.36 1768 1634 .924 5

Mike Smith is looking to get another win against his former team and his 100th NHL career victory.


Kari Lehtonen

#32 / Goalie / Dallas Stars

6-4

215

Nov 16, 1983



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2011 - Kari Lehtonen 50 2967 29 16 111 2.24 1458 1347 .924 4

Kari Lehtonen has been in net for 2 Stars losses against the Yotes and 2 shootout wins. The Yotes are going to want to win it in regulation and not challenge him to another skills competition.

Injuries


Phoenix Coyotes Injuries

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Taylor Pyatt undisclosed 03/20/2012
Radim Vrbata other-illness 03/20/2012

Doubtful

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Adrian Aucoin other-excused 03/20/2012

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Kyle Chipchura wrist 02/19/2012


Dallas Stars Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Sheldon Souray charley-horse 03/20/2012
Radek Dvorak ankle 03/20/2012


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