The Dallas Stars ended their six-game homestand with a bang Friday night, pounding home a season-high six goals, including four on the power play, in beating the Phoenix Coyotes 6-3. The win was the third straight for the Stars, who improved to 8-4-0 on the season.
“We are becoming a very good club,” said Stars coach Marc Crawford. “Last year we had a good home record and we should have a good home record here. It’s always a result of hard you work and hard you stay with the structure of your game. If you do that you give yourself a chance to be successful. Tonight it wasn’t systems. It was our players being in the right place and making the right decisions.”
Loui Eriksson was in the right place a lot Friday night, scoring two goals and assisting on two others. Eriksson has seven points (four goals, three assists) in the last two games and ten points (five goals, five assists) during a five-game points streak.
“I am finding ways to score right now. The guys are making some good plays for me,” said Eriksson.
Brad Richards had two goals and one assist. Brenden Morrow and Jamie Benn also scored goals. Mike Ribeiro had three assists. Matt Niskanen and Stephane Robidas both had two assists nights.
A lot of those goals and assists came via the power play, which was 4-6 on the night. The Stars have now scored eight power play goals over the last five games.
“I think we’re trying to shoot it more on net and we’re finding ways to in front of the net more,” said Eriksson. “We need the power play to work and tonight it did.”
Said Crawford: “We got people in front of the net tonight.”
The Stars’ penalty kill had a solid game as well, thwarting five of six Phoenix power plays. The Stars PK came up big early in the game when the Phoenix had two power play chances when the game was still scoreless.
“We did a lot of good things on the penalty kill,” said Crawford. “I think we got a little bit of life from the penalty kill.”
After dropping the first three games of the homestand, the Stars won the last three and outscored their opponents 15-5.
“In the games that we were losing we felt we were doing the right things, but the pucks weren’t going in for us. Now they kind of are,” said defenseman Matt Niskanen, who had two assists in the game. “Guys are really working hard and we are getting the payout right now.”
Notes: Barch in, Wandell out
After being a healthy scratch the last four games, Krys Barch was in the lineup Friday night. To make room for him, Stars coach Marc Crawford decided to make Tom Wandell a healthy scratch. Crawford said the move was not a reflection on Wandell’s play.
“We wanted to play Barch and I told Tommy, ‘Don’t worry about this,’” Crawford said. “It’s never good to sit out, nobody likes to sit out. Truth be told, we really don’t like to sit guys out. But we felt that Barch and [Jeff] Woywitka had been working so hard for us and we want to make them a part of it.
“I thought Barch came in and played a real strong game. He had a breakaway chance. The guys appreciate how hard he has to play and the job that he has. It was more a case of we wanted to play Krys Barch than we were sending a message or anything. I’ll let you know if we are sending a message to people. Tommy will come back in [Saturday]. … He’ll be a fresh guy for us tomorrow.”
Crawford said he will stick to his plan of playing Andrew Raycroft in goal Saturday night when the Stars play the Colorado Avalanche in Denver.