Phoenix Coyotes vs Dallas Stars preview: revenge . . . again

USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Coyotes head to Dallas to face off against the Stars in their final game before the Winter Olympics.

For the second time in a week, the Phoenix Coyotes face off against the Dallas, this time in Dallas immediately following a 2-0 win against the Chicago Blackhawks. Regrettably, the first game ended in with the Yotes losing 3-1 and the Coyotes are going to be looking for a different outcome as they play their final game before the Olympic break.

Matchup at a Glance

Phoenix Coyotes

Dallas Stars

Points

64 (8th in West)

62 (10th in West)

Goals Per Game

2.77 (13th)

2.79 (11th)

Goals Against Per Game

2.86 (21st)

2.79 (19th)

Power Play Percentage

20.3 (6th)

15.5 (23rd)

Penalty Kill Percentage

79.8 (25th)

81.0 (19th)

Phoenix Coyotes

Earning points against a top team like the Blackhawks last night was a huge victory for the Coyotes.  Every player is going to have to step up tonight and play a complete game like they did on Friday. Realistically, even though the Coyotes are in a playoff spot, they need to keep up the pressure and keep getting points against other teams, especially teams like Dallas who are chasing them for that spot.

Unlike the last game against the Stars, Phoenix needs to play a full 60 minute game. No longer can they win games by coasting for a period or two, they need to constantly apply pressure to the other team and control the game.

Defense will really need to be tighter in this game, Dallas has a strong top line that will need to be controlled.  Barring that, the Desert Dogs aren't in too tough a position, although they let Dallas' depth players beat them last game.

Dallas Stars

Last season, the Stars were playing in the Pacific with Phoenix and the three California teams and the switch to the Central seems to have benefited them. Although they still are out of a playoff spot, they are in serious contention for one of the two wildcard spots.

Dallas provides a unique opponent for Phoenix, in many ways they are a lot like the Coyotes in that in the final stretch they have some big wins against top teams like the Penguins and Ducks.

The past few games, Dallas has been strong, they have impressive wins over the Penguins, Wild and Ducks, and they absolutely destroyed the Maple Leafs 7-1. On average, they score as many goals as they give up, and though their special teams numbers leave something to be desired, they are a hungry team that may find a way to get into the playoffs.

Keys to the Game

Play 60 minutes. The Coyotes have played good for parts of a lot of their past few games but when they let up, the other teams tend to take advantage of them.

Discipline. The Yotes were better at this against Chicago but they took way too many penalties in inopportune times against the Stars the last time these two teams met.

Capitalize on chances. In their last game, the Coyotes managed a pair of power play goals, which hopefully is a sign that they have found a way to capitalize on the opportunities that other teams give them.

Players to Watch


Antoine Vermette

#50 / Center / Phoenix Coyotes

6-1

198

Jul 20, 1982



G A P +/- PIM
2013 - Antoine Vermette 21 15 36 1 32

Antoine Vermette is currently on a nine-game point streak and currently leads the Coyotes with 21 goals.  He is also currently the only Coyotes player to have over 20 goals on the season.


Tyler Seguin

#91 / Center / Dallas Stars

6-1

195

Jan 31, 1992


Tyler Seguin has been great since coming over from the Boston Bruins, and playing on Dallas' top line.  He currently leads the team in goals, assists, and points as well as power play goals and game winning goals. He also is riding a seven-game point streak, including an assist against Phoenix on February 4th.

Likely Starting Goaltenders


Mike Smith

#41 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes

6-4

215

Mar 22, 1982



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2013 - Mike Smith 20 1171 12 3 57 2.92 667 610 .915 2

Mike Smith played a great game against one of the best teams in the NHL on Friday and he earned the starting spot in the back to back. He also was pretty good in the Dallas game. Although the team lost, he had 37 saves on 39 shots and had a .949 save percentage.


Kari Lehtonen

#32 / Goalie / Dallas Stars

6-4

215

Nov 16, 1983

Kari Lehtonen has a 4-3-3 record in his past 10 games and has played about as well as can be expected in Dallas.  He has a .916 save percentage, which is what he has finished last season and close to what he has been throughout his career.  He was solid against Phoenix in the last game though with 27 saves on 28 shots for a .964 save percentage.

Injury Report

Derek Morris suffered an upper-body injury against Chicago and will not play. Martin Hanzal missed the last game with illness but made the trip to Dallas.

Dallas is playing without Stephane Robidas.

Puck Drop

Tonight's game will start at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and on Arizona Sports 98.7.

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