By Dave Vest DALLAS – The Coyotes will try to extend their season-high six-game winning streak today at the American Airlines Center against the Dallas Stars in the final game of a four-game trip. The puck drops at 4 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (35-18-5) has beaten the Stars all three times the teams have played this season, including the first game of this trip six days ago when Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett made his return to Dallas for the first time since parting ways with the Stars after six seasons as head coach.
Coyotes players have noted that helping their new head coach beat his former team is in their minds as motivation.
"That makes me feel good," Tippett said. "It makes you feel that they recognize that we're all in this as a group. I look at it as coaches are part of the team, too... We're trying to build an atmosphere here where everybody cares about each other. Coaches, managers, players - we're all in the same boat."
Ilya Bryzgalov will be back in net today after watching backup Jason LaBarbera play at Chicago on Friday night. Bryzgalov is 10-5-2 vs. Dallas in his career, including a 3-0-0 mark this season.
The Stars (25-21-11) have won nine of their past 11 home games.
Marty Turco is expected to be in goal for Dallas. Turco has stopped 63 of the 66 shots he has faced in his past two games.
Stars center Mike Modano, the all-time leader in NHL goals and points scored by an American-born player, missed Thursday's game at Columbus because of a knee injury. He is listed as day-to-day.
"I'll see how it feels," Modano told ESPNDallas.com on Friday. "There's no structural damage. I just landed on it awkwardly halfway through the first period of the Minnesota game (on Tuesday). It just got tighter during the next 24 hours. There is just discomfort in the joints."
Coyotes defenseman Adrian Aucoin has scored the game-deciding shootout goal in Phoenix's last two games, including Friday night vs. the Blackhawks in Chicago.
Stars center Brad Richards has scored three goals in the past five games, including one each vs. Minnesota on Tuesday and Columbus on Thursday of this week.
Today's game will mark the completion of Phoenix's eighth set of back-to-back games this season. The Coyotes, who beat Chicago 2-1 in a shootout on Friday, is 10-2-2 in the 14 games played in the first seven sets.
The Coyotes have 75 points, just four fewer than they earned last season, and are 11 points clear of ninth-place Detroit in the Western Conference standings as they try for their first playoff berth since 2001-02.
The Coyotes are 6-1-1 in their past eight games at the American Airlines Center.
"We want to play for our coach. Any time we play Dallas it's a big game for him. We play them hard and we don't give them much."