By Steve Hunt | NHL.com Correspondent
DALLAS -Mike Smith stopped 28 shots and 10 skaters had at least one point for Phoenix as the Coyotes beat the Dallas Stars, 4-1, on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center to extend their winning streak to three games.
"That's three games we've played how we want to play or how we have to play," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "We've got a lot of people really committed into doing things that make you win hockey games."
Phoenix (25-21-8) got goals by Keith Yandle in the first period, Radim Vrbata in the second, and Raffi Torres and Derek Morris in the third to move ahead of Dallas into ninth place in the Western Conference standings. The Coyotes are even with eighth-place Minnesota at 58 points, two ahead of Dallas (27-23-2), but are ninth because they have played one more game than the Wild.
Dallas' lone goal came from Michael Ryder in the second period. Kari Lehtonen allowed four goals on 24 shots as the Coyotes improved to 3-0-1 in their last four trips to Dallas.
Yandle gave the visitors the lead just 4:43 into the game when his long slapper from the left side hit a Dallas player and beat Lehtonen through the five-hole for his seventh of the season.
"We wanted to push back. We knew that they were going to try to come at us hard because of the back-to-back and we wanted to push back," Tippett said. "Coming out of the first period up 1-0, that was a good push back."
Dallas tied the score 2:34 into the second when Ryder zipped a wrister from well inside the right faceoff circle just over Smith's blocker for his team-high 19th goal. Lehtonen preserved the lead 18 seconds later when he made a huge diving glove save on a shot by Ray Whitney.
Stars rookie defenseman Philip Larsen took a stick to the face at 7:02 of the second period, resulting in a double minor to Coyotes forward Mikkel Boedker. Dallas had four shots during the four-minute power play but the Stars were unable to convert.
Photo by Getty Images.
Boedker nearly redeemed himself just seconds after leaving the box, but his shot at an open Dallas net went wide.
The Coyotes went ahead to stay when Vrbata scored his team-high 25th of the season at 14:30 of the second (see KEY MOMENT below).
Lehtonen had to change masks 2:04 into the final period when he stopped a long slapper by Phoenix defenseman Adrian Aucoin with his head, sending the Dallas goaltender to the ice. But after a short delay to get Lehtonen a new mask, play resumed.
However, the Coyotes took command when Torres beat Lehtonen over the shoulder from the lower left circle at 5:41 of the third. Morris added an insurance goal at 16:09.
"We weren't very good again," Stars Head Coach Glen Gulutzan said. "Even with a real good goalie performance, we got outworked by a team that played last night."
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com edited this story and compiled this recap.
With the score tied 1-1 late in the second period, Coyotes forward Ray Whitney collected the loose puck in the Dallas zone.
Whitney then fed the puck to forward Radim Vrbata, who passed it to defenseman Rostislav Klesla on the left wing. Klesla quickly returned the puck to Vrbata in the low slot, and Vrbata scored his team-leading 25th goal - and League-leading 18th road goal - at 14:30 to give the Coyotes the lead for good.
Klesla's assist was the 100th assist of his NHL career.
• Defenseman Keith Yandle suffered a lower-body injury while blocking a shot at 8:27 of the third period. Yandle left the game and did not return. After the game, Head Coach Dave Tippett said: "He'll be fine. He just got hit in the knee."
• The Coyotes improved to 5-3-1 in the second game of back-to-back games this season: "When you play back-to-back, you want to play smart," forward Radim Vrbata said. "You don't want to waste energy too much. You don't want to create turnovers. You want to play smart in the offensive zone and make less mistakes than them so you don't waste energy. I think that's the key to it."
• Goalie Mike Smith played in his 42nd game of the season. That matches his career-high for games played in an NHL season which he set in 2009-10 when he played for Tampa Bay.
• Defenseman Derek Morris scored his first goal of the season and his first goal since March 24, 2011 vs. Columbus. He also led the team with four hits.
• Defenseman Rostislav Klesla assisted on Radim Vrbata's goal at 14:30 of the second period. It was the 100th assist of Klesla's NHL career.
• The Coyotes' next game is Thursday vs. the Calgary Flames at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).
"I give our guys a lot of credit. They competed hard and they did a lot of little things right that make you win games... After we killed the four-minute penalty off, our guys got enthused by that kill."
"We had a couple days of practice that helped us a lot. Now we pay more attention to the details and we have everybody contributing. That's the key to our group, I think."
"We've gotten by on a really good goaltender our last three or four games and it's just not good enough. We can talk about it and try to figure it out and point fingers, but... we've really been letting ourselves down."
• Oct. 10, 2011: DAL 2, PHX 1 (SO) • Feb. 7, 2012: PHX 4, DAL 1 • March 20, 2012: