Gameday Preview: Phoenix Coyotes @ Dallas Stars (5:00pm CST)


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Phoenix Coyotes
@ Dallas Stars

Saturday, Feb 6, 2010, 5:00 PM CST
American Airlines Center

Local TV: FS SW

Radio: 1310 The Ticket (listen online @ stars.nhl.com)

Complete Coverage >


 

"Deja Vu, or promnesia, is the experience of feeling sure that one has witnessed or experienced a new situation previously (an individual feels as though an event has already happened or has happened in the recent past)"

Flashback six days ago. The Coyotes came to Dallas. They had played the night before (and won). They had made sure, for some reason, despite the fact that the team they played the night before was in fact better than the Stars, that they saved their #1 goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov for Dallas. They won the game handily.

Here we are a week later. The Coyotes once again played last night (and won). For some reason, even though they were playing the best team in the West (that's Chicago, btw), they started their backup. Ilya Bryzgalov will play in Dallas again tonight at 5:00pm CST. If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep getting what you've always got. The English in that sentence is more than just a little suspect, but Dave Tippett gets it. Phoenix has beaten the Stars three times already this year, and has their #1 netminder to thank for it. Do we dare expect a different outcome tonight?

I don't know about you, but I'm headed out to the AAC for this one. The Olympic break is coming and the next home date isn't until March 2nd. Even Ilya Bryzgalov's black-magic-hockey is better than no hockey at all.

Phoenix has won six overall, and their last two by virtue of scoring ONE GOAL total. They shutout Nashville in a 1-0 shootout win, then squeaked past Chicago last night in a 2-1 shootout win.

So who will Marc Crawford start in goal? Could Mike Ribeiro play before the Olympic break? Follow the jump...

The Stars:

Mike Ribeiro is getting very, very close, but will not play against the Coyotes on Saturday. He skated a full practice again on Friday and will see how his body reacts to the increase in activity. Says Mike Heika:

``It's very tempting...he's tempted...but he's not ready yet,'' Stars coach Marc Crawford said. ``This gives him a chance to practice with the team tomorrow, practice with the team Monday, he gets a day off, and a big part of recuperating is to see how your body reacts to a day off. I think it's looking better. When it happened, we said if we could get him back before the break, we'd be pretty happy. And it looks like we're going to get him back before the break. But we'd be foolish to try to get him in on Saturday.''

The power play failed the Stars once again on Thursday against Columbus. Mike Modano and Mike Ribeiro being out were believed to be a pretty big part of that.

The Stars are dealing with an increase in expectations from their general manager Joe Nieuwendyk, who said recently that this pre-Olympic stretch will determine the teams position at the trade deadline: Buyers or sellers.

Marty Turco played very well for the second straight game in Columbus on Thursday, despite the loss. He gave up only one goal on 25 shots, and has surrendered only 3 on his last 67 shots faced (.955 save %). He will get the start in net against Phoenix.

 

The Coyotes:

The Arizona Republic has the story after the Coyotes defeated a very tough Chicago team in the windy city:

Stay-at-home defenseman Adrian Aucoin scored the deciding goal in the shootout for the second straight game to give Phoenix a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Meanwhile, backup goalie Jason LaBarbera made 28 saves through overtime, then stopped two of three Blackhawks in the shootout in his ninth start and 12th appearance this season.

Phoenix's Robert Lang also connected in the shootout, and Radim Vrbata scored late in the second period for the Coyotes, whose streak is their longest since they won seven in a row midway through the 2006-07 season. Phoenix is 9-2-0 in its last 11.

"We're trying to push this thing as far as we can," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "There's a push before the (Olympic) break and a push after."

The Coyotes have won six games in a row. The Kings have won eight games in a row. The Stars are among the only two team in the league (them, and Toronto) that have not won three games in a row this year.

The Pacific division is a pretty strange landscape to behold this year.

Injures:

Dallas: Ribeiro (throat), Wandell (knee) are out. Modano is questionable.

Phoenix: Scottie Upshall (out for season-knee)

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