Stars-Coyotes Preview

Phoenix Coyotes at Dallas Stars
Friday February 1
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus
Radio: KTCK-1310 (AM)

Dallas Stars at Phoenix Coyotes
Saturday February 2
7:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: KTCK-1310 (AM)

About the Stars

The Stars (2-4-1) saw their winless streak hit four games (0-3-1) with a 4-1 loss at Detroit on Tuesday. The Stars will look to get on track in this weekend’s home-and-home series with Phoenix, which is also off to a 2-4-1 start to the season.

“Big time important points,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “These are important games for us. It’s a real important week. We want to push forward Friday and Saturday, get healthy and get on a little run here. We’ve had some setbacks and our goal is forge ahead every day, get better every day. I am not going to back off that.”

D Jamie Oleksiak and C Antoine Roussel, both called up from the AHL on Wednesday, are expected to make their NHL debuts Friday against the Coyotes.

Kari Lehtonen will start in goal Friday for the Stars.

Injuries:  C Derek Roy (groin) is out. G Cristopher Nilstorp (groin) is day-to-day.

About the Coyotes

The Coyotes (2-4-1) are coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to Edmonton in Glendale Wednesday night. The Coyotes have picked up three points over the last two games (1-0-1).

“I liked the way we’ve played the last couple games. We need to play that way tomorrow and Saturday,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett told reporters on Thursday. “The feeling in the dressing room is very good right now. Even though we didn’t get the win last night, players feel like they are back in the game rhythm of how we have to play. If we can continue to play like that, we’ll get our fair share of points.”

Mike Smith is expected to return from a lower body injury and start in goal Friday.

Injuries:  G Mike Smith (lower body) is expected to return this weekend. F Raffi Torres (suspension) is eligible to return Saturday. C Martin Hanzal (undisclosed) and F Steve Sullivan (lower body) are day-to-day.  F Matthew Lombardi (upper body) and D Rostislav Klesla (lower body) are out.

Series Notes

*This is the second of four meetings between the two teams.

*The Stars won the first meeting, 4-3, in Dallas on January 19.

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are averaging 1.86 goals per game this season, but they’ve scored 9 in their 3 home games (3.00 per game).

*Of the Stars’ 13 goals this season, 10 have been scored by four top six forwards (Erkisson-3, Ryder-3, Whitney-2, Jagr-2).

*The Coyotes have yet to win on the road this season, going 0-2-0 in their first two games away from home.

*Phoenix has scored on the power play in six of seven games, and is 8-31 (25.8 percent) on the power play this season.

*The Stars are 15-16 (93.8%) on the penalty kill over the last three games.

*Coyotes forward Nick Johnson, called up from Portland of the AHL last week, has 3 points (2 goals, 1 assist) in the last two games.

*Stars center Cody Eakin has 4 points (0 goals, 4 assists) in the last five games.

*Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen is 6-2-0 against Phoenix in his career with a 2.24 goals against average and a .928 save percentage.

*Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith is 5-1-4 against Dallas in his career with a 2.14 goals against average and .924 save percentage.

Statistical matchup

Category Stars Coyotes
Record 2-4-1 2-4-1
Home 1-1-1 2-2-1
Away 1-3-0 0-2-0
Streak Winless 4 (0-3-1) Points 2 (1-0-1)
Goals/game 1.86 3.14
Goals against/game 2.57 3.14
Shots/game 25.6 33.1
Shots against/game 34.1 27.3
Power play 16.0 (4-25) 25.8 (8-31)
Penalty kill 82.9 (29-35) 79.3 (23-29)
Faceoffs 46.0 51.2
Team Leaders Stars Coyotes
Goals Ryder, Eriksson: 3 Sullivan: 4
Assists: Eakin: 4 Vrbata: 5
Points: Whitney, Jagr: 5 Vrbata: 7
Goaltenders Lehtonen: 2-2-1, 2.58, .926
Nilstorp: 0-2-0, 2.70, .918
Bachman: 0-0-0, 0.00, 1.000
Johnson: 1-0-1, 0.98, 952
LaBarbera: 1-2-0, 3.25, .897
Smith: 0-2-0, 4.62, .836

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