COYOTES (8-9-2) at STARS (6-9-4)
This is the second of three games between the Arizona Coyotes and Dallas Stars. Ryan Garbutt's goal with 1:16 remaining gave the Stars a 4-3 win on Nov. 11 at Gila River Arena that snapped a seven-game losing streak. Tyler Seguin scored twice and Erik Cole added a goal for Dallas, which was playing its first game after trading defenseman Sergei Gonchar to the Montreal Canadiens.
Coyotes team scope:
Despite a 2-1 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, Arizona has earned at least a point in its past three games.
“You look at the last three games … there’s been a full commitment to make sure things are done to the maximum,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “Guys are paying the price, and with our group that’s what it takes. We have to do that every night if we’re going to be successful.”
Goalie Mike Smith, who made 22 saves Tuesday vs. Washington, owns a 7-4-5 record with two shutouts, a 2.09 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage in 16 career games vs. Dallas. He began his NHL career with the Stars, registering a 24-14-2 record with a 2.34 GAA and a .909 SV% in 44 games. Smith’s 2.09 GAA against Dallas is the second-lowest among all NHL opponents in his career.
The Coyotes have gone 14-8-4 against the Stars under Tippett, but Dallas comes into Thursday’s game riding a four-game home winning streak against Arizona.
"They've won one home game in 10 tries (this season) so that's going to be a hornet's nest we go into there," Tippett said.
The Coyotes rank fifth in the NHL with 305 blocked shots. Defenseman Michael Stone leads the way and ranks eighth in the League with 44. Forward Joe Vitale is first among all NHL forwards with 27 blocked shots.
Captain Shane Doan has scored all six of his goals this season on the road.
Rob Klinkhammer (upper-body injury) practiced Wednesday, but he and center Martin Hanzal (lower-body injury) are questionable. Defenseman Brandon Gormley (lower-body injury) is "progressing nicely," according to Tippett, but he will be out for at least a week.
Stars team scope:
The Stars have lost seven straight games at American Airlines Center (0-5-2) and own the NHL's worst home record at 1-5-4.
Dallas has dropped three straight, has allowed 12 goals in its past two games, and its 3.67 goals-against average is last in the League.
"The message is we've got to do more. You've got stay positive," Head Coach Lindy Ruff told the Stars website after practice Wednesday. "If we beat them up, I think it gets worse. That history with me is the team usually gets afraid to play."
Forward Patrick Eaves (foot) skated and is available, but Garbutt (upper-body injury) will miss a week.
Defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka, recalled Tuesday from Texas of the American Hockey League, will be in the lineup.
"Coming out of training camp, he was probably the guy who had improved the most and pushed the most through training camp," Ruff said. "The games he has played so far this year, I thought he had played well for us."