Final SO

Series (Game 6 of 6)

Arizona leads 4-2

Game 1: Saturday, November 14th
Game 2: Friday, November 27th
Game 3: Sunday, January 31st
Game 4: Saturday, February 6th
Game 5: Saturday, February 13th
Game 6: Sunday, March 21st

Coyotes 3

(46-22-5, 97 pts)

Stars 2

(31-27-14, 76 pts)

7:00 PM ET, March 21, 2010

American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

1 2 3 SO T
ARI 1 1 0 13
DAL 0 1 1 02

B. Richards (Stars - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

R. Vrbata (Coyotes - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

J. Benn (Stars - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Coyotes-Stars Preview


The Phoenix Coyotes are one victory shy of matching the longest win streak in franchise history. Tying that record could also vault them into a spot that seemed unlikely when this season started.

Should they earn their ninth straight win Sunday night at the Dallas Stars, the Coyotes might also emerge with the Pacific Division lead and a share of first place in the Western Conference.

Following a tumultuous offseason that included a bankruptcy filing and a preseason coaching change, Phoenix appeared a longshot to even snap its eight-year playoff drought. All but assured of reaching that goal, the Coyotes now have their sights set higher.

"It feels good, but we are not done," defenseman Zbynek Michalek said. "We know there is much more work ahead of us. ... Our confidence is really high right now. Hopefully we can keep riding it."

Already having set a franchise record for wins in a season, Phoenix (45-22-5) pulled within one point of San Jose in the Pacific and within two of West-leading Chicago after Saturday night's 5-4 shootout win at home over the Blackhawks.

A victory in Dallas, coupled with a Sharks regulation loss later Sunday night in Edmonton, would put the Coyotes in position for the first division title in franchise history. Even if they don't pass San Jose, they would still tie the Winnipeg Jets' nine straight wins from March 8-27, 1985.

Phoenix, also seeking its fifth straight road victory, is playing well at both ends of the ice. The Coyotes have outscored their last eight opponents 25-14, tallying three or more goals in seven of those games while allowing two goals or fewer five times.

Lee Stempniak has played a significant role in the winning streak, which also comprises his eight games with the Coyotes since they acquired him from Toronto on March 3. He's had nine goals, two assists and at least one point in each contest.

Stempniak and Phoenix have had to rally in their last two victories, which were eventually decided in shootouts. The Coyotes came back from a 3-0 deficit in Thursday night's 4-3 win at Florida, and trailed 4-2 early in the third period of Saturday's victory over Chicago. Four of their past eight wins have come via the shootout.

"We never want to quit, and we came back and found two points," forward Radim Vrbata said after scoring the lone goal in Saturday's tiebreaker.

While the Coyotes are jockeying for playoff positioning, the Stars are in desperation mode as they try to avoid missing back-to-back postseasons for the first time since 1987 and 1988, when the franchise was located in Minnesota.

Dallas (31-27-13) won for the second time in three games Saturday, beating Ottawa 5-4, but trails eighth-place Detroit by eight points with 11 games remaining for both teams.

"We know what's at stake," defenseman Trevor Daley said. "We know it's an uphill battle."

As they conclude their season-high six-game homestand, the Stars hope to continue their newfound success against the Coyotes.

After enduring six straight losses to Phoenix -- three this season -- the Stars earned a 4-0 home win Feb. 6 as Marty Turco stopped 34 shots. A week later, he made 40 saves in a 3-0 road victory over the Coyotes in the final game before the Olympic break.

Kari Lehtonen has started the last three games in net for Dallas after Turco posted a 1-4-1 mark and a 4.14 goals-against average following the Vancouver Games. Brad Richards has aided Lehtonen in those starts with three goals and three assists.