Series (Game 3 of 6)

Arizona leads 4-2

Game 1: Friday, November 5th
Game 2: Saturday, December 11th
Game 3: Sunday, December 26th
Game 4: Wednesday, February 9th
Game 5: Tuesday, March 1st
Game 6: Tuesday, March 29th

Coyotes 1

(16-11-7, 39 pts)

Stars 0

(21-11-4, 46 pts)

8:00 PM ET, December 26, 2010

American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

1 2 3 T
ARI 0 1 01
DAL 0 0 00

J. LaBarbera (Coyotes - G): Saves: 30, Save Pct.: 1.000

K. Lehtonen (Stars - G): Saves: 24, Save Pct.: .960

K. Turris (Coyotes - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Coyotes-Stars Preview


The Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes have gone in opposite directions since they met earlier this month.

The Stars haven't lost in regulation and the Coyotes haven't won in regulation since that matchup as the Pacific Division rivals meet Sunday night at the American Airlines Center.

Phoenix (15-11-7) defeated Dallas 5-2 on Dec. 11 as Shane Doan scored twice and Keith Yandle had a goal and two assists, evening the season series at one win apiece.

Since that game, though, the Coyotes have gone 1-3-1 in five road games while the Stars are 4-0-2.

Dallas (21-10-4) has used that surge to move into a tie atop the Western Conference with Detroit at 46 points, although the Stars fell 3-2 in a shootout to Calgary on Thursday.

"On the bright side, we got a point," coach Marc Crawford said. "If you'd have said we'd be tied for first place in the Western Conference going into the break, we'd be pretty happy."

The directions in which these teams are headed seem to mirror the turnaround seasons for both. Dallas finished in last place last season -- the first under Crawford.

Crawford replaced Dave Tippett, who led the Stars to five straight playoff appearances but got fired after failing to extend that streak in 2008-09. Tippett went on to be hired by Phoenix and led the team to a surprising playoff berth last season, earning the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top coach.

Those days seem far removed with Phoenix currently in last place in the Pacific. The Coyotes have been outscored 10-2 in consecutive losses.

"We're really lacking a lot of push to the net on the 5-on-5 situations," Tippett said. "We have to continue to get people to go to the net harder."

Sunday figures to be an entertaining matchup since these teams have been short-handed more than any others since Dec. 10. Phoenix has been short-handed 38 times in that span and Dallas 33.

The Coyotes were down a man eight times in a 4-1 loss to San Jose on Thursday, giving up three power-play goals for a second consecutive game.

"When you take those penalties, you limit your opportunities," Tippett said.

The Stars took advantage of the Coyotes' lack of discipline with a season-high four power-play goals -- two from Loui Eriksson -- in a 6-3 home victory Nov. 30. Phoenix limited Dallas to one goal in seven chances earlier this month.

Eriksson has nine points during a five-game run and Brad Richards six in his last five for Dallas, beginning a stretch of four games in six nights.

"We have another real busy week after Christmas and we want to be playing great again," Crawford told the Stars' official website.

The Coyotes returned home after the loss to San Jose before they begin a stretch of three games in four days.

"We don't get an opportunity to feel sorry for ourselves," Doan said. "Go home, enjoy Christmas and have a chance to play Dallas the next day we've got to go to work."

Phoenix defenseman Ed Jovanovski will skate in his 1,000th game Sunday, becoming the 256th player to reach the milestone.