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Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Tuesday skate: 'This is a big game for us'

By Mark Stepneski

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars have a key game tonight as they take on the Phoenix Coyotes, a team they are battling in the Western Conference playoff race. The Stars and Coyotes are deadlocked at 56 points, two points behind eighth-seeded Minnesota.

"Every game is important for us, but some have different meanings. This is a team we're tied with. This is direct competition. This is a team that wants what we want," said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. "This is a big game for us. They played last night. We're fresh. This is a real big game for us."

The Coyotes are coming off a 3-1 win over Detroit Monday night. They beat San Jose 5-3 Saturday as well. Those are two big wins, but this will be their third game in four days, including their second in two days.

The Stars, by the way, haven't fared all that well when playing teams that are in on the second game of a back-to-back set. The Stars are 3-4-1 in those games, according to the team's PR staff.

As for the Stars lineup, Toby Petersen will be back in after being a healthy scratch the last four games. Based on the lines in this morning's skate, it looks like Jake Dowell could be the odd man out among the forwards.

Kari Lehtonen in goal.

Here's the projected lineup for tonight.