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Arizona Coyotes fall to Dallas Stars 3 goals to 2 in first game since Christmas break

The return of the Duke to the score sheet wasn’t enough to lead a potential Coyotes’ comeback.

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The stories of the night were the Arizona Coyotes’ freshness and Anthony Duclair returning to the scorers’ list.

Unfortunately, these things weren’t enough to get them over the line against the Dallas Stars, who held on against their former desert rivals en-route to a strange 3-2 win.

Scoring Summary

First Period

No scoring in the first period. However, despite being out-shot by the Stars seven to five, the Coyotes’ created better scoring chances and appeared to spend more time on attack.

Second Period

1-0 Dallas - With Radim Vrbata playing the right point position on the power play, he is forced to defend one-on-one against Jason Spezza. Recognizing this, Spezza easily worked his way behind and past Vrbata before making his way straight to the net where he scores short-handed on Mike Smith. Assist to Jordie Benn at 2:48.

1-1 Tie - With a mass of players driving to the net in front of the Stars’ net, Anthony Duclair hacks and whacks on a loose puck that Kari Lehtonen was unable to cover and freeze. Eventually Duclair’s whacking pushes the puck into the back of the net to tie the game less than a minute after the Stars took the lead. Assists to Martin Hanzal and Tobias Rieder at 3:37.

The Duke was very thankful to score after going without a goal since November 3rd.

2-1 Dallas - A Tyler Seguin slapshot from the boards flies through traffic before making contact with Jamie Benn who is literally standing right up against the goalpost to the left of Mike Smith. The puck bounces off Benn and in for a power play goal. Assists to Seguin and Spezza at 12:03.

Third Period

3-1 Dallas - John Klingberg scores a rink length empty net goal as his clearing attempt from deep in the Stars defensive zone takes a funny bounce and goes in for a goal instead of becoming an icing call. Brutal. Assist to Kari Lehtonen at 18:52.

3-2 Dallas - With 6.6 seconds remaining on the clock, the Coyotes are awarded a penalty shot as a result of a Stars’ player covering the puck in the crease. Vrbata makes his trademark move and scores his 9th goal of the season at 19:53.

Three Answers

  1. Can Dave Tippett exploit line matchups? - Given that the Coyotes lost, it appears that Tippett couldn’t exploit the matchups enough. While Seguin and Benn stayed off the scoreboard at even strength, Arizona still struggled to score despite the advantage of picking who was on the ice last all night.
  2. Will Arizona have some jump in their step? - In the first period the Coyotes did indeed come out with some jump in their step. Led by an aggressive and fast forecheck they kept the puck in their offensive zone longer than the Stars could at the other end. They finished the night out-shooting the Stars 37 to 29 and played like they meant to - if they keep playing with the intensity of tonight a win can’t be too far away.
  3. Will Alex Goligoski score against his former team? - Unfortunately not. Goligoski finished the night with a +1, one shot on goal, two hits, one block and a giveaway.

Players of the Game

Dallas - Kari Lehtonen - In what might be Lehtonen’s first MVP performance of the season, he held the Coyotes at bay with an excellent .946 save %, allowing only 2 goals from 37 Arizona shots. He put the icing on the cake with an assist on Klingberg’s strange game winning goal.

Arizona - Anthony Duclair - Broke his second drought of the season with a goal, hopefully this isn’t the beginning of his third drought.

Paw Prints

  • For more on the Dallas Stars, check out Defending Big D.
  • Kevin Connauton and Josh Jooris were healthy scratches for the Coyotes, while Ryan White was scratched again with an injury.
  • The Coyotes again played with 7 defenders dressed.
  • Michael Stone had only 1:49 minutes of ice time in the 1st period. The second lowest was Anthony DeAngelo with 5:11. Stone finished the night with only 6:35 of time on ice.
  • Attendance: 14,651.

Looking Ahead

Arizona will now remain at home for one more game before hitting the road, hosting the New York Rangers on Thursday night. Puck drop is at 7:00pm Arizona time at Gila River Arena.