By Dave Vest DALLAS – Dave Tippett will make his first appearance as an opposing head coach inside the American Airlines Center today when the Coyotes start a weeklong trip against the Dallas Stars. The puck drops at 4 p.m. (Arizona time).
Tippett was the head coach of the Stars for six seasons before joining the Coyotes in late September, and he led Dallas to the NHL playoffs in five of those six seasons.
“I have lots of good friends there,” said Tippett, who averaged 47 wins with Dallas from 2002-08. “I was there for a long time. And there are good friends (of mine) on that hockey team… You’re good friends off the ice but once the puck drops everybody is for his own team. They’ve moved on. I’ve moved on.”
Tippett and the Coyotes (32-18-5) will enter the game with a three-game winning streak and in fourth place in the Western Conference standings.
Ilya Bryzgalov will be back in goal for Phoenix after taking a break on Saturday. In his place, backup goalie Jason LaBarbera stopped 24 of 26 shots in a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in Glendale.
Bryzgalov and the Coyotes already have beaten the Stars twice this season, but those games were played at Jobing.com Arena.
Dallas (24-19-11) has won two straight games and five in a row at home. The Stars rank 10th in the Western Conference standings, three points behind eighth-place Calgary.
"We want to put a run together and get in a playoff spot," Stars left wing James Neal recently told reporters. "These points right now are going to mean a lot in the end."
Coyotes center Vernon Fiddler had two assists in Saturday's 3-2 win over the New York Rangers and blocked three shots, including two late in the game.
Stars center Mike Modano, the first overall pick in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft, is still going strong at age 39. Modano has scored six goals in his past eight games.
The Coyotes announced Sunday that forward Scottie Upshall suffered a torn ACL in his right knee vs. Calgary on Thursday and that he will be out indefinitely. Upshall's 18 goals lead Phoenix.
This is the first game of a four-game trip for the Coyotes that will end Saturday right back here in Dallas. Phoenix is 11-10-3 on the road.
Stars backup goalie Alex Auld is expected to start today. Auld, who played nine games for Phoenix in 2007-08, is 6-0-0 in his past six starts at the American Airlines Center.
"When you win, it (back-to-back games) is not that hard. When you're losing, it's very difficult... You hope you carry the momentum from the win last night into the game tonight."