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Dallas Stars @ Phoenix Coyotes Preview: Win It For Coop

Tonight under the watchful, mascaraed eyes of Alice Cooper your Phoenix Coyotes will be facing off for the fifth time this season against the Dallas Stars at Arena at 6pm. If you somehow forgot how well the Coyotes have been playing lately allow me to refresh your memory. They had a five game winning streak which included a 4-1 victory over the Stars, they got a point against one of the top teams Vancouver, they got a shutout victory over LA last Thursday, and of course Mike Smith has back to back shutouts. So far the Yotes have not managed to beat the Stars at home, although the Stars won those games in shoot outs.

The Phoenix Coyotes will be playing with two people brought up from Portland, Michael Stone and Matt Watkins. This is coming off the fact that three Coyotes will most likely be out of the game tonight after a tough week, Taylor Pyatt is out after the Vancouver game, Rostislav Klesla after a hit in the LA game, and Derek Morris is still out with illness. Hopefully Stone and Watkins can fill the big shoes that are being left empty with guys like Klesla and Pyatt being injured, and hopefully someone brings Derek Morris some soup so he can get better soon.

The Stars were in the news recently, they beat the Calgary Flames and are on the hunt to get into the playoffs. They also recently traded defenseman Nicklas Grossman to Philadelphia and yesterday they recalled a forward, Ryan Garbutt from their AHL team. Away they aren't the best team, they are currently 13-14-1, but they did manage to take the Coyotes to the shoot out and win twice, so they do know something about playing at They are currently 4 points out of an 8th place spot and have played 1 game less than Phoenix and Los Angeles.

Five For Winning:

1. Win in regulation. We don't want three point games against Western Conference teams, especially against a Pacific Division team, and especially against a team who has managed to beat them twice in a shoot out.

2. Score first and keep the lead. So far the Yotes are 2-0-2 against the Stars when they score first. Scoring first is definitely doing something for the Coyotes, so lets not change what is working.

3. Play off the home crowd. Since the Desert Dogs have yet to beat the Stars at home they really need to work to give something for the fans at home.

4. Strong Defense. There is a reason that Smith has back to back shutouts. Well 2 reasons: 1) he is very good and 2) the defense is really helping him out. Hopefully they can continue this streak against a team that has not had the best offense against the Yotes.

5. Discipline. It was crazy the amount of penalties that were happening in the LA/Phoenix game on Thursday, but the Coyotes may not want to play that way again. Dallas only has 1 power play goal against Phoenix, lets keep it that way.

Key Players

Raffi Torres

#37 / Left Wing / Phoenix Coyotes



Oct 08, 1981

G A P +/- PIM
2011 - Raffi Torres 9 7 16 0 44

Only 2 players on the Coyotes have 2 goals against the Dallas Stars this season and Raffi Torres is one of them, the other is Radim Vrbata. Torres is going to be needed to score points and play a physical game of course.

Adam Burish

#16 / Right Wing / Dallas Stars



Jan 06, 1983

G A P +/- PIM
2011 - Adam Burish 6 8 14 3 52

Adam Burish has scored goals in the past two games and he scored against the Coyotes earlier in the season. He's definitely a player to watch.

Likely Goalies

Mike Smith

#41 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes



Mar 22, 1982

2011 - Mike Smith 45 2607 24 14 99 2.28 1355 1256 .927 4

Hmm should we start the guy who has allowed 1 goal in 2 games against the team we are playing tonight?

Kari Lehtonen

#32 / Goalie / Dallas Stars



Nov 16, 1983

2011 - Kari Lehtonen 38 2230 21 14 90 2.42 1106 1016 .919 1

Kari Lehtonen has played in every game against the Coyotes including taking over 5 and a half minutes of the last period 2 games ago. He is the better goalie and you have to figure a team fighting for their playoff spot is going to go with their best.


Phoenix Coyotes Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Taylor Pyatt other-excused 02/18/2012
Derek Morris groin 02/18/2012
Rostislav Klesla other-excused 02/18/2012

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
David Schlemko foot 01/08/2012

Dallas Stars Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Brenden Morrow other-excused 02/03/2012

Head over to Defending Big D for Dallas' side of the story, and I hope to see you at the game.