By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will play the first of nine home games in March tonight against the Dallas Stars at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (33-21-10) will enter the game in second place in the Pacific Division standings, two points behind first-place San Jose, which hosts Colorado tonight. Phoenix is fourth in the Western Conference standings.
The Coyotes, who will be trying to snap a three-game winless streak, have beaten Dallas three consecutive times since losing on Nov. 5 and have outscored the Stars, 9-4, in those wins.
The Coyotes have won five straight games at home (Feb. 5-17) and are tied with San Jose for the current longest home winning streak.
will start in goal for the Coyotes. Kari Lehtonen will start in goal for the Stars.
The Coyotes are expecting defenseman Rostislav Klesla
to make his debut tonight. Phoenix acquired Klelsa and minor-league forward Dane Byers in a trade with Columbus on Monday for forward Scottie Upshall and defenseman Sami Lepisto. Klesla hasn't played since Jan. 22 because of a lower-body injury.
"He’s an intelligent player," Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney said about Klesla. "We talked to Radim Vrbata
(who knows Klesla) and did all the homework to make sure he’s the right fit for us. And certainly we feel that he’s going to be good and we keep our fingers crossed that we made the right choice."
Phoenix will wear its third (black) jersey for the 10th time this season tonight against Dallas. The Coyotes have a record of 5-4 when donning the black threads.
|Defenseman Rostislav Klesla is expected to play for the Coyotes tonight. Photo by Getty Images.
Dallas (33-23-6) will enter the game in fourth place in the Pacific Division standings and eighth in the Western Conference standings thanks to a two-game winning streak.
Forward Loui Eriksson has scored the game-winning goal in each of the last two games for Dallas and ranks ninth in the NHL with nine game-winning goals this season.
Newcomer Alex Goligoski, whom the Stars acquired from Pittsburgh on Feb. 21, ranks eighth in the NHL in plus/minus at plus-22. Goligoski has the highest plus/minus ranking amongst the top 20 scoring defensemen in the NHL.
Forward Steve Ott has been dominant in the faceoff circles this season winning 58.6 percent of his draws. Only three other NHLers are more successful.