The Dallas Stars absconded with three of the four points available to them in a brutal back-to-back set in Nashville and St. Louis to start the week, and now find themselves back at it again trying to complete a grueling stretch of schedule before returning home Saturday.
Up this time it's the last team Ruff's bunch has yet to encounter this year in the Arizona Coyotes.
Tonight's contest marks the Stars' third in the last four nights and overall the sixth over the course of the last 11 days.
Fatigue was said to be a big factor on Tuesday night in St. Louis and much of the same talk surfaced in January could get repeated- Mainly that worn out guys with limited practice days (Stars were off Sunday, were off yesterday) degrades the quality of the system Lindy Ruff's staff is running here.
Unlike January, however, the Stars have points in five straight and in six of the eight games they've played this month. So while it's not always been pretty, it's somehow been effective, and against high Central Division competition, too.
Tonight's competition may be considered by many to be lesser, but for a team that's dropped games the Maple Leafs, to name but one, it's sometimes been the more minor bumps in the road that have thrown them for the biggest loop.
Arizona crushed the Montreal Canadiens here in Glendale by a margin of 6-2 on Monday night in front of 14,438. They out-shot the Habs 27-19 and dropped two power play goals on them to go along with a perfect 1-for-1 on the kill themselves.
They're hoping that win can be a catalyst for them because what's come before that has not been of particularly high quality. Going back to January 14th the Coyotes have dropped 10 of their last 14 games, including a five-game streak that they finally ended last weekend against the Flames.
The offense has sputtered at times for Dave Tippett's crew before erupting for the big total against the Canadiens. One area, however, that has been pretty consistent for them recently is their power play.
They've scored nine power play goals in their last six games. That's cooking. The trick is to stop that, because what's behind it has not been potent of late. Before spanking the Habs the Coyotes had scored just seven even-strength goals spanning a five-game stretch.
After the special teams' debacle that finally caught up with Dallas in overtime Tuesday night, they likely don't need a lot of reminding on the importance of execution on the penalty kill and power play, where they went 0-for-7 over the course of nearly 14 minutes of time on the job.
Arizona made some headlines the other night when they had to call-up their emergency goaltender to the arena just hours before puck drop.
Wilson, you see, is the Arizona Coyotes' head equipment manager. And backup goalie Anders Lindback had just suffered a leg injury. With about an hour to spare, Wilson turned to the club's designated emergency goalie - Schoenfeld ... who makes a living as a banker.
"I don't know if I have the words quite yet," Schoenfeld told the Arizona Republic after the game. "It will probably take a bit to soak in. Just go home and sit with my family and just enjoy the night."Fox Sports
He backed up Louis Domingue, which is another name you may not know- But he was the NHL's rookie of the month in January and has been showing nicely despite the team in front of him in Mike Smith's stread. Smith had abdominal surgery recently and will miss at least another month.
Domingue will likely be in net tonight with Anders Lindback backing up and the emergency goaltender back off the roster.
Their lineup, or something of the sort:
That's former Dallas Star Kevin Connauton, who has recently caught on with the team after being picked up from Columbus. Nick Grossmann is also alive and kicking around the Coyotes roster.
The Stars did not practice Wednesday so there's no news on a starter or possible scratches.
From Stars PR:
The Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes meet for the first of three times during the 2015-16 campaign, with two of those games occurring at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz. The Stars have won three-straight games against the Coyotes (3-0-0) and swept the 2014-15 season series. Dallas recorded a 4-3 victory on Nov. 11, 2014 in the only game last season in Arizona. Dallas rallied from a two-goal deficit early in the second period to secure the victory behind a two-goal outing from forward Tyler Seguin (2-0=2). Nine Stars players inked the scoresheet in the contest including Jason Spezza (0-1=1), Antoine Roussel (0-1=1) and Patrick Eaves (0-1=1).
TYLER THE CREATOR
Stars forward Tyler Seguin has points in five of his last six games (3-5=8) and currently shares third in the NHL with 63 points (30-33=63) and ranks third in goals (30). The native of Brampton, Ont. has tallied 34 points (18-16=34) in 31 games on the road this season, ranking first in goals (18) and second in points (34). He has points in three of his last four road games (0-5=5) and nine points (3-6=9) over his last eight road contests with 25 shots on goal over that span. Seguin has points in two of his last three games (2-1=3) against Arizona and has five points (3-2=5) in nine career games against the Coyotes.