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Preview: Stars at Coyotes

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM | Dave Vest

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Preview: Stars at Coyotes
Dallas Stars vs. Phoenix Coyotes

Season series: Tonight's game is the third of four between these Pacific Division rivals, and the second in as many nights. Jaromir Jagr scored in the fourth round of a shootout Friday to give the Stars a 4-3 win in Dallas and complete a sweep of the two games at American Airlines Center. The Stars also won by a 4-3 score on opening night on a late goal by Loui Eriksson.

Big story: Tonight's game marks the return to the lineup of Phoenix forward Raffi Torres, who was handed a 21-game suspension during last year's Stanley Cup Playoffs for a hit that knocked Chicago star Marian Hossa out for the rest of a first-round series the Coyotes won.

"I'm excited (to play), it's been quite a long time," Torres said. "I just want to be out there helping the boys out."


Team Scope:

Photo by Getty Images.

Coyotes: The best news to come out of Friday for Phoenix was the return of their No. 1 goalie, Mike Smith, and one of its top scorers, Martin Hanzal.

Playing for the first time in nine days, Smith showed early signs of rust, giving up three goals in the first 21 minutes. But he was flawless after that until the shootout, allowing his team to rally behind a pair of goals from Hanzal, back after missing a pair of games. Radim Vrbata added a goal and an assist; he also gave the Coyotes a temporary lead in the tiebreaker by scoring in the second round.

Stars: In between their two wins against Phoenix this season, Dallas dropped five of six -- but Kari Lehtonen has picked up where he left off last season in goal. He made 31 saves Friday through regulation and overtime, then stopped three of four Coyotes attempts in the shootout. Jamie Benn tallied in the third round to extend the penalty-shot tiebreaker before Jagr won it, and the Stars survived despite allowing leads of 2-0 and 3-1 to slip away.

"I think it's pretty exciting for the fans," Stars Head Coach Glen Gulutzan said. "The fans, seeing No. 68, a guy of that caliber, I think they got their money's worth."

The Stars will play minus leading scorer Ray Whitney, who was placed on injured reserve on Saturday after suffering a lower-body injury on Friday.

Who's hot: Vrbata has a goal and five assists during a five-game points streak. Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has four assists in as many games. ... Antoine Roussel scored in his NHL debut for the Stars on Friday, while Brenden Dillon also recorded his first NHL goal in his ninth game and added an assist.

Injury report: Phoenix forward Steve Sullivan (lower body) is day-to-day. Forward Matthew Lombardi (upper body) and defenseman Rostislav Klesla (lower body) are on injured reserve. ... Dallas defenseman Aaron Rome sat out Friday with flu-like symptoms. Forward Derek Roy and goalie Christopher Nilstorp are on injured reserve with groin injuries.

2012-2013 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 09 '13 DAL 1 at PHX 2 R. Klinkhammer
Feb 02 '13 DAL 0 at PHX 2 N. Johnson
Feb 01 '13 PHX 3 at DAL 4 - SO J. Jagr
Jan 19 '13 PHX 3 at DAL 4 L. Eriksson
R. Whitney8246+2210
J. Jagr8235+0610
C. Eakin9055+2400
M. Ryder9404+2611
L. Eriksson9314-3001
A. Goligoski9033+2400
B. Dillon9112-11600
R. Garbutt9112-3600
S. Robidas9022+4600
B. Morrow9022-2600
D. Roy4022+1000
P. Larsen6101-31210
T. Vincour4101+1200
A. Roussel2101-1200
V. Fiddler9011+01200
E. Nystrom9011-1900
J. Benn4011-2800
C. Sceviour1011-1000
T. Daley9000-6400
J. Benn8000-3400
T. Wandell7000-2400
R. Smith7000-2200
J. Oleksiak2000-1200
A. Rome2000-2000
K. Lehtonen73-2-1162102.62.924
C. Nilstorp20-2-05612.70.918
R. Bachman20-1-02361.88.944
R. Vrbata9369-1610
M. Boedker9257+4220
O. Ekman-Larsson9257+0401
S. Sullivan6415-3420
A. Vermette9325+2411
L. Korpikoski9325-1210
M. Hanzal5325-1000
K. Yandle9145+31010
D. Moss9145+0200
D. Morris9055+11000
N. Johnson5314+3011
S. Doan9224-11300
B. Gordon9033-2200
D. Schlemko8022+1200
M. Lombardi4022+0000
Z. Michalek9000+1600
K. Chipchura9000-12700
A. Bolduc7000-3200
P. Bissonnette6000+0500
M. Stone6000-4200
D. Rundblad3000-1000
R. Klesla2000-3000
A. Miele1000+1000
R. Torres1000+0000
M. Smith51-2-1131023.06.873
J. LaBarbera31-2-09873.25.897
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