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Arizona Coyotes go deep into the heart of Texas for a game versus the Stars

The starry nights are big and bright when the Coyotes are on a three game win streak.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes are suddenly winning games. They will take their three game win streak into Dallas to play the Stars in the final contest of 2014.

Matchup at a Glance

Arizona Coyotes Dallas Stars
Points 32 (6th Pacific) 37 (6th Central)
Goals For 2.31 (25th) 2.86 (9th)
Goals Against 3.14 (26th) 3.34 (29th)
Power Play 20.0% (11th) 16.3% (22nd)
Penalty Kill 75.8% (28th) 78.7% (T-22nd)
5v5 Corsi % 49.2% (23rd) 50.7% (14th)
PDO 98.0 (28th) 99.2 (22nd)

View from Arizona

It's too early to say that Arizona has turned a corner, but there do appear to be many positive indicators in the team's favor recently. Wins aside, the Coyotes are also conceding fewer goals; in their three wins Arizona surrendered just four goals while scoring ten.

Some of their other commodities are picking up the pace from earlier too. Antoine Vermette is over the double digit mark in goals, while nine Coyotes total have double digit points. They aren't out of the woods yet, and are still a long ways away from even approaching playoff contention. But the Coyotes are heading in the right direction as 2014 comes to a close.

View from Dallas

Dallas is also taking a hot streak into tonight's contest. The Stars have won six of their last seven, including most recently a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers. Tyler Seguin leads the team in scoring with an incredible 25 goals and 18 assists, which is just two fewer goals than the Coyotes top line of Mikkel Boedker, Shane Doan, and Antoine Vermette have combined. Seguin is the best example going of why you don't give up on a high draft pick too early.

Despite their potent offense, the team's struggles in the back end have really hurt. In particular, Kari Lehtonen is well, letting 'em in. His .905 save percentage is 32nd among goaltenders with 10 or more starts. He also happens to have the 6th most games played among all NHL goaltenders, so he's had plenty of opportunities to be below average.

Keys to the Game

  • Get to Kari Early - Dallas has done a better job protecting their goal in recent games, but as evidenced by the game Arizona just played against Philadelphia, the team is much better with a lead. The earlier they get to Lehtonen, the better.
  • Avoid Mental Mistakes - Philadelphia climbed back into the last game the Coyotes played because of mental errors, particularly in transition. The Coyotes will need to stop those from happening.
  • Get Your Best Players the Puck - Sam Gagner seems to have settled in on the wing, and Vermette and Boedker are in a groove. Find them the puck and let them do what they do best.

Who's Hot

What a difference a year makes for Devan Dubnyk. He's stopped 91 of the last 95 shots he's seen, and is now 8th among NHL starters in save percentage at .926.

Though the defense of Dallas is often maligned, Trevor Daley leads the corps with eight goals and nine assists, including two goals in his last five games.

Injury Report

Chris Summers (upper body) remains on injured reserve, while Joe Vitale (lower body) is listed as questionable for tonight's game. Should he not be able to go, Tyler Gaudet would likely take his place again.

No changes to the Stars' injuries from the last time these two teams played. Rich Peverley (heart) and Patrick Nemeth (arm laceration) are both unlikely to return this season, while Patrick Eaves (lower body) and Valeri Nichushkin (hip) are both out until February and March, respectively.

Puck Drop

Tonight's game begins at 6 PM Arizona time. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Arizona Plus or listen to the game on ESPN 620 AM.