Tuesday, October 25th, 2011, 9:00 PM CDT
Opponent Blog: Five For Howling
The Stars finish their four game road trip this evening with a date against the 3-3-1 Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena. Dave Tippett's team is coming off a very un-Phoenix like performance at home on Sunday; a 5-4 win against the Ducks in which neither team recieved the kind of goaltending to which they are accustomed (particularly Anaheim).
Dallas played what they felt was a very strong game against the Kings on Saturday but fell 1-0 on a Los Angeles prayer from the point late in the third period that Andrew Raycroft said he didn't see. A win tonight would put the trip at 3-1-0 and wash the bad taste out of their mouths before those same Kings come to the American Airlines Center Thursday.
Glen Gulutzan's team won the first matchup with Phoenix on October 10th in the shootout thanks to heroics from Souray and Loui Eriksson with 27 seconds remaining in regulation, but the head coach was less than thrilled with his team's effort. Dallas was badly out-shot (45-21) and outchanced throughout. Seven PP opportunities produced only six SOG, prompting the use of the word "atrocious" in the post-game presser. They can right some of those wrongs tonight with a better effort.
Five games in a row between these teams have ended in one-goal contests and it's a good bet tonight's will as well starting at 9:00pm on FSSW. Be sure to stay up late with us for gameday thread fun right here.
A look at both teams after the jump...
Apart from a couple of minor hiccups to start the year, the Dallas Stars are enjoying remarkable health early in the campaign (Knock on wood) and that makes for pretty quiet pre-game discussions as the status quo remains largely intact.
Lines are expected to once again be:
Eric Nystrom has made a good impression in a short time here and that's allowed Adam Burish to strengthen the Stars fourth line that much more. It may seem a waste to some fans to have an asset like Burish playing fourth line minutes but Gulutzan was able to use his fourth line for an average of nearly 10 minutes a night in Southern California last weekend, and that goes a long way on a back to back.
Consider also that both teams tried matching their top lines with the Stars supposed fourth line, and Dowell and Burish (or Toby Petersen as is the case) are a tough combo to play against. This is the depth we've been talking about for a long time now, and Nystrom's addition has only strengthened it. Burish went 5/5 in the faceoff circle in L.A. the other night, which supplements Petersen's and Wandell's struggles there nicely.
Kari Lehtonen will be back in the pipes tonight for the Stars.
Who would you scratch on defense? It looks like Fistric but could be Adam Pardy. Both have played well in trying to earn ice time.
Highly touted rookie Any Miele played his first NHL game on Sunday for the Coyotes, going scoreless in just over six minutes of ice time. He's a Hobey Baker Award winner (2011) and played at Miami (in Ohio) with Stars prospect Reilly Smith. He'll see limited time but Dave Tippett says he hopes to increase his role tonight a little.
"I'm hoping that line can give us a little bit of an offensive spark. Miele and (Patrick) O'Sullivan are both real clever with the puck, and (Raffi) Torres is a hard guy around the net, so we'll see what they can give us." [Arizona Republic]
Mike Heika's got the Coyotes lines from Sunday night against the Ducks...
Ray Whitney-Daymond Langkow-Shane Doan
Mikkel Boedker-Martin Hanzal-Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt-Boyd Gordon-Lauri Korpikoski
Patrick O'Sullivan-Andy Miele-Raffi Torres
Keith Yandle-Derek Morris
Rostislav Klesla-David Schlemko
Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Adrian Aucoin
Mike Smith is expected to start in goal. He held the Stars scoreless for 59+ minutes in the in their last meeting before Loui Eriksson and Sheldon Souray combined to break through.
The Stars did something amazing on Saturday night in Los Angeles in holding Jarret Stoll to just 4 of 12 in the faceoff circle. Stoll is one of the best in the game and against the Stars he's the absolute best over the last couple of years. Tonight they'll try to limit an emerging star on the dot in the form of Boyd Gordon.
From Phoenix Coyotes PR: "Newcomer Boyd Gordon currently leads the league in faceoff winning percentage (63.8). He has gone 53/79 (67%) at the faceoff dot over the past five games, including 12/17 (71%) @ ANA &15/20 (75%) @ NSH. The Unity, Saskatchewan native has gone 40/65 (61.5%) on even strength face-offs through seven games."