Dallas Stars: Keith Yandle
DALLAS -- In a key game against a team they are battling for a playoff spot, the Dallas Stars came out flat Tuesday night, losing 4-1 to the Phoenix Coyotes at American Airlines Center.
“We weren’t very good again,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “Even with a real good goalie performance, we got outworked by a team that played last night.”
“Awful. Atrocious.,” said Stars defenseman Sheldon Souray. “We’ve gotten by on a real good goaltender in our last three or four games, and it’s just not good enough. We can talk about it, try to figure it out, point the finger, but as a whole we’ve really been letting each other down the last three or four games, especially with how important this stretch of games is and what it means.”
Tuesday’s loss dropped the Stars into 11th place in the Western Conference, but they remained only two points out of the final playoff spot.
The Stars seemed to be an advantage heading into Tuesday’s game. They were well rested and Phoenix was playing its second game in as many nights. But it was the Coyotes who looked like the fresher team and they were on the Stars early.
“Our game plan was to play hard, play physical against that team, they played last night. We didn’t do a good job of that,” said Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas. “We lost a lot of one-on-one battles. When you lose those you always end up on the wrong side, and that’s exactly what happened tonight. They played a simple game. It was right there for us, but it comes right back to the work ethic.”
The Coyotes scored 4:43 into the game when a Keith Yandle shot from the point hit traffic and got past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.
The Stars tied the game 2:34 into the second when Michael Ryder scored off the rush, ripping a shot from the right circle past Coyotes goalie Mike Smith.
The Stars had a great opportunity to take the lead when they went on a four-minute power play, but they couldn’t take advantage.
“Any time a team kills a four-minute power play it gives them a big boost,” said Robidas. “It gives them some momentum. We had some good movement (on the power play), but just couldn’t get one to go in.”
The Coyotes then took the lead with 4:11 left in the second, not long after the Stars turned over the puck in their own end and allowed Phoenix to keep pressure in the offensive zone. Rusty Klesla centered the puck and Radim Vrbata put it in the net to give the Coyotes a 2-1 lead.
“A turnover, almost the same play from two nights ago, cost us a goal,” said Gulutzan. “That’s it, that’s all they need. They know who they are.”
The Coyotes, who improved to 21-1-0 when leading after two periods, closed the game out in the third period. Raffi Torres scored early in the third to make it 3-1 and a Derek Morris goal late in the period rounded out the scoring for the Coyotes, who won their third straight game and moved into the ninth place in the Western Conference. They’re tied with eighth-seeded Minnesota in points, but the Wild have played one fewer game.
“That’s three games we’ve played how we want to play or how we have to play. We’ve got a lot of people really committed into doing things that make you win hockey games,” said Coyotes coach Dave Tippett. “We had two good games against San Jose and Detroit. We come in here on a back-to-back, I give our guys a lot of credit. They competed hard. They did a lot of little things right that make you win games.”
The Coyotes got points from ten different players.
“That’s the key to our team. That’s who we are. That’s how we play,” Tippett said. “That’s how we’re going to have to continue to play if we’re going to be successful.”
Gulutzan, meanwhile, said the Stars are still trying to determine exactly who they are, and they need to get it sorted it out soon.
“We do and we don’t (know who we are) at times. We do and we don’t. We haven’t played well since the break. We’ve to get going,” Gulutzan said. “Record aside, whatever it was, three wins in the last four or two of the last three (coming into Tuesday), we need to be better. That’s not asking too much, that’s reality.”
*The Stars are now 3-5-1 against teams playing in the second game of back-to-backs.
*The Stars were 0-4 on the power play in the game and 1-1 on the penalty kill.
*Stars captain Brenden Morrow missed his second game with a neck/shoulder injury. He is expected to miss at least the next two games.
*Mark Fistric and Jake Dowell were healthy scratches for the Stars.
*Tuesday’s attendance was 11,162
The Dallas Stars lost a key game against one of the teams they are battling for a playoff spot, falling 4-1 to the Phoenix Coyotes 4-1 at American Airlines Center Tuesday night.
The Stars dropped to 11th place in the West, two points out of the final playoff spot.
Michael Ryder scored the lone goal for the Stars. Kari Lehtonen stopped 20 shots. The Stars were 0-4 on the power play, and missed on a four-minute power play with the game tied 1-1 in the second period.
Phoenix won its third straight game and for the fourth time in its last five.
The Coyotes scored 4:43 into the game when a Keith Yandle shot from the left point deflected off traffic and past Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen.
The Coyotes outshot the Stars 9-8 in the period. Neither team had a power play.
The Stars tied the game at 1-1 at 2:34 of the second third when Michael Ryder ripped a shot past Coyotes goalie Mike Smith from the right circle off the rush.
Thirty seconds later, Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen kept it a 1-1 game by making a spectacular glove save on Phoenix forward Ray Whitney’s point blank chance.
The Stars got a 4:00 minute power play after Mikkel Boedker took a double minor for high sticking Philip Larsen. The Stars had a lot of zone time and five shots on goal, but couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity.
The Coyotes took the lead with 5:30 left in the period. Shortly after the Stars turned the puck over in their own end, Rusty Klesla centered the puck and Radim Vrbata directed it into the net to put Phoenix up 2-1.
The Coyotes went on their first power play with 4:11 left in the second, but they couldn’t take advantage.
The Stars outshot the Coyotes 11-8 in the second and held a 19-17 advantage heading into the second intermission.
The Coyotes extended their lead to 3-1 at the 5:41 mark of the third when Michal Rozsival set up Raffi Torres off the rush and Torres scored from the left circle.
The Stars had a power play, their third of the game, with 11:08 remaining, but couldn’t take advantage and the Coyotes maintained their two-goal lead.
Derek Morris scored off a blast from the slot with 3:51 remaining to put the Coyotes up 4-1.
Injured: Morrow (neck/shoulder)
Scratched: Fistric, Dowell
Lehtonen was helped off the ice 5:31 into the game after pulling a groin while stopping a Derek Morris shot on a play that was offside. Trevor Daley left midway through the first period with what was thought to be a back injury. Center Vernon Fiddler left late in the second with a groin injury.
“We’re still evaluating, but both Dales and Kari are unlikely for Monday (at Colorado) for sure,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “We don’t know to what degree yet, and Fiddler will be day-to-day.”
The three players injured Saturday join left wing Brenden Morrow (upper body), defenseman Alex Goligoski (broken thumb) and right wing Adam Burish (broken hand) on the list of injured Dallas players.
As for the game, it was all Coyotes.
“We didn’t have it tonight and the injuries didn’t help,” said Stars goalie Andrew Raycroft, who took over for Lehtonen in the first period and stopped 33 of 36 shots. “You go down a goalie and then down to five D in the first five minutes or whatever it was, it’s tough, especially against a team that works hard down low. They kind of took it to us a little bit at times during the night.”
The Coyotes outshot the Stars 39-26 and scored one goal in each period to hand the Stars their sixth regulation defeat in the last nine games (2-6-1). Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith stopped all 26 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season.
“I don’t think we responded great [to the injuries]. I am not taking anything away from Phoenix. They outplayed us tonight, no question,” Gulutzan said. “But I thought there was a little window of opportunity if we had some kind of jump that we could have pushed this game as a good road game, and kept it 1-0 or 0-0 for a while. We didn’t get a call early and after that we didn’t respond with any life or any enthusiasm. We just let them take the game to us.”
The Coyotes first goal came on play when as Raycroft was playing a shot by Keith Yandle, he was run over by Phoenix captain Shane Doan. The puck got behind Raycroft and Mikkel Boedker pushed the puck over the goal line to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead with 4:55 left in the first period.
Phoenix extended the lead to 2-0 at 6:02 of the second when Ray Whitney finished off a give-and-go with Radim Vrbata, scoring off a shot from the right circle.
The Coyotes finished off the scoring in the third when they forced a turnover behind the Dallas net and Taylor Pyatt scored on the rebound of a Daymond Langkow shot with 9:32 remaining.
The Stars, who fell to 13-9-1 on the season, will wrap up their two-game road trip in Colorado on Monday. With the injury list growing, the Stars will be facing a stiff challenge.
“Stick with the process. You keep doing the little things,” said Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas. “When things get hard there are two ways to react to it, you can either fold and you try to find excuses or you take up to the challenge. Everybody has to step up their game. It’s an opportunity for some guys to show what they can do. You want a chance to show what you can do. It’s up to us to do it.”
*Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said Brenden Morrow is scheduled to get an injection for his back on Monday and is still expected to return to the lineup for Thursday’s game against Ottawa.
*The Stars were 0-1 on the power play Saturday and are now 0-16 on the PP over the last seven games.
*The Stars have been shut out in three of their last seven games.
*Krys Barch and Adam Pardy were healthy scratches for the Stars on Saturday.
* The Coyotes dominated on shots on goal, holding a 13-5 advantage. The Stars didn't have many scoring chances, something Dave Tippett teams stress with the defensive approach.
* Dallas had trouble taking care of the puck earlier in the period, making some ill-advised decisions. They played a little better later in the period, but still made some bad passes. Heck, Jamie Benn even hit Brenden Morrow in the face with the puck, drawing blood.
* Alex Auld made some nice saves as the Coyotes generated some odd-man rushes. There was nothing Auld could do on the goal, which was the result of a nice pass across the slot by Shane Doan to Keith Yandle.
* Look for the Coyotes to really clamp down and make life difficult for the Stars to get any chances. Dallas needs to get physical in the second period to try to grab some momentum and make more things happen.