By Dave Vest
GLENDALE – Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett will see some very familiar faces on Saturday night inside Jobing.com Arena when Phoenix hosts the Dallas Stars. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time).
Before joining the Coyotes in September, Tippett was head coach of the Stars for six seasons and guided them to the NHL playoffs five times. Tippett and the Stars parted ways after not reaching the postseason in 2008-09.
“There certainly are good friends there and I met wonderful people in the organization, and there are some players there that I really respect, but once you kind of move on you move on,” Tippett said. “… They’ve moved on and I’ve moved on.”
Tippett, whose 271 regular-season victories rank second in Stars coaching history, knows the keys to competing against Dallas, which replaced him with Marc Crawford.
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett
“There’s a lot of different elements to that team,” Tippett said. “You’ve got Marty Turco in goal and his puck play is always a factor. The one position for them that I think is key because it helps the other positions is their three centerman - Mike Ribeiro, Brad Richards and Mike Modano. Modano’s just coming off an injury, but if those three guys get up and going they can be a very dangerous trio because what they do is make the players beside them better… They have a real good group of forwards. I would say that’s as good a group of forwards that’s in the league right now. That makes them a dangerous team.”
The Coyotes (10-8-0) will enter the game with a 1-4-0 record in November. Ilya Bryzgalov most likely will start in goal.
Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski has yet to practice with teammates since suffering a lower-body injury on Nov. 5. He is considered day-to-day. Phoenix is 0-2-0 without him.
The Stars (8-4-6) rallied from two goals down in the third period to win at San Jose on Thursday night. Turco made 30 saves in regulation/overtime and three more in the shootout to improve his record to 6-2-4.
“They move the puck pretty good and they protect the puck down low, and they’re coming off a good win over San Jose the other day,” Coyotes defenseman Jim Vandermeer said. “They’re going to come at us ready to go.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Saturday’s game will air on tape delay on FOX Sports Arizona at 10:45 p.m.
Coyotes center Matthew Lombardi has produced five assists in the team's past six games and has won at least 50 percent of his faceoffs in every game during that span.
Stars left wing James Neal has notched at least one point in his past eight games (seven goals, five assists). The streak is sandwiched around an injury that sidelined him for a week.
The Coyotes had a 4-1-1 record vs. Dallas last season. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov started all six games and posted a 2.12 goals-against average and two shutouts.
The next goal Coyotes captain Shane Doan scores will be the 264th of his career and will tie him with Thomas Steen for third place on the franchise’s all-time goals list.
Stars center Mike Modano scored his first goal of the season on Thursday. It was the 544th goal of his career, which ties him for 27th place with Maurice Richard on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list. The Stars are hoping the goal will help jump-start Modano’s injury-slowed season.
"With Jovo out, I try to help out a little more offensively, especially this year because he's been carrying our team."