By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will begin a three-game homestand tonight when they host the Dallas Stars at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (AZ time).
The last five meetings between these clubs have been decided by one goal, with Dallas holding a 2-2-1 record in those contests.
In their only meeting this season, the Stars rallied to beat Phoenix, 2-1 in a shootout, at American Airlines Center on Oct.10. Stars forward Louii Eriksson scored a goal with just 28 seconds left in regulation to spoil Coyotes goalie Mike Smith
's bid for a shutout and ultimately Phoenix's bid for two points.
Smith, who made several eye-popping saves to beat Anaheim on Sunday, will start in goal tonight vs. the Stars. Smith, of course, began his NHL career with the Stars in 2006-07.
Three players - Martin Hanzal
, Boyd Gordon
and Keith Yandle
- scored their first goals of the season for the Coyotes (3-3-1) in the victory at Anaheim.
"You're starting to see more people on the board for us now, which is the way it's going to have to be," Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "Everybody has to contribute, and that was a good sign (on Sunday)."
With six of their next seven games at home, the Coyotes are looking to start a long winning streak.
"We've kind of been up and down a little bit," Tippett said. "We want to put a few wins together. We've got to come out and play well."
Gordon leads the league in faceoff winning percentage (63.8 percent). He has won 53 of 79 draws over the past five games, including 12 of 17 at Anaheim on Sunday.
The Stars (6-2-0) have turned heads by earning 12 of 16 points under new Head Coach Glen Gulutzan to start the season.
|Photo by Getty Images.
Kari Lehtonen’s 6-0-0 start to the regular season is the first time in franchise history a Stars goaltender has gone undefeated through the first six games. He has allowed just nine goals this season, posting a 1.48 goals-against average and a .957 save percentage.
"They've won a lot of close games, and Lehtonen has been very good for them," Tippett said. "We've got to make sure we're getting a lot of pucks at him, a lot of traffic at him, and look for ways to score."
Stars captain Brenden Morrow likes playing the Coyotes. Morrow has notched more goals (21), assists (23) and points (44) against Phoenix than against any other NHL club.
Center Vernon Fiddler, who spent two seasons with the Coyotes, has notched one goal in his first eight games for Dallas.