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Preview: Arizona Coyotes @ Dallas Stars

7:30pm CST on Fox Sports Southwest PLUS

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

And we're back. Where were we?

Ah, yes- We were feeling good. Warm fuzzies. Overtime winners. Hat tricks. The power of sports as a distraction for a man who said he didn't feel sick for four hours Saturday night. Good feelings, indeed. Much needed.

Alas, for a hockey franchise, just like in other walks of life, the way you feel about something isn't worth a hill of beans in the grand scheme of things. The ice cream headache returns, and the Dallas Stars are still on the outside trying to look in, but they're pretty far away.

It's a full ten points now, in fact, with a game in hand on the Calgary Flames and their 66 points. The Coyotes in last are closer to Dallas than the Stars are to the rear of the playoff pack now, and Nashville jumped the Flames last night after feasting on the lowly Avs.

So a casual observer poking his nose into a sport he doesn't ordinarily follow would be well within his rights to describe this one as a meeting between two bad teams. That would not out-of-bounds, right?

An advantageous opponent, perhaps, in a situation proving to be one of extreme difficulty as has been well documented as the league swims its way through this first "bye" season. Heading into play yesterday teams were 4-12-4 in their first game back from the break. The Stars took advantage of the Lightning last week awaking from their late winter slumber in a 4-3 win.

Tonight they try to avoid a similar fate, and will do it like this...

He adds that Johnny Oduya is not ready to play this evening, but could be an option in the very near future.

Then there's the Coyotes- Not as bad as you think. 8-4-1 in their last 13 games heading into play last night and uh, well about last night...

Last night the Coyotes went toe-to-toe with the mighty Blackhawks. For a period. Arizona took a 3-1 punch in the mouth in Chicago last night before striking back in the frame's closing minutes in a highly entertaining, though poorly defended start to the evening.

At a 4-3 deficit Mike Smith and company were hanging in there as the game was halfway through, but Patrick Kane added two more as the evening wore on and the Hawks pulled away for a 6-3 win. The second period, if I could make an editorial comment, was full of defensive lapses by both teams and featured a series of near-misses on stretch passes galore.

Arizona actually out-attempted them 64-53 on the night, with most of the surplus coming in a score-affected third period after the damage had been done.

Their lineup, full of Star killers and ex-Stars alike...

  • Domi-Hanzal-Vrbata
  • Perlini-Dvorak-Doan
  • McGinn-Burmistrov-Jooris
  • Rieder-Martinook-White

——

  • Ekman Larsson-Schenn
  • Goligoski-Murphy
  • Chychrun-Connauton

Injured- Dave Bolland, Brad Richardson

From Stars PR:

COYOTE UGLY

The Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes meet on Friday night for the second of three games during the 2016-17 campaign. Dallas won the first meeting of the season, 3-2, on Dec. 27, 2016 at Gila River Arena. Forward Jason Spezza notched a game-high two points (1-1=2), with captain Jamie Benn (1-0=1) lighting the lamp and defenseman John Klingberg (1-0=1) registering the game-winning tally. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped 35-of-37 shots to record the win. The Stars have won seven-straight games (7-0-0) against the Coyotes at American Airlines Center and posted a 4-1 win in the only meeting of the 2015-16 season in Dallas on March 31, 2016. John Klingberg (0-2=2) and forward Ales Hemsky (0-2=2) each notched multi-point games and four different forwards recorded goals including Jamie Benn (1-0=1), Patrick Eaves (1-0=1), Radek Faksa (1-0=1) and Patrick Sharp (1-0=1). Sharp leads all active Stars skaters with 26 points (11-15=26) in 39 career games against the Coyotes.

THE FRENCH CONNECTION

Forward Antoine Roussel recorded his first career hat trick (3-0=3) on Saturday night against Tampa Bay and now has points in two consecutive games (3-1=4). With his three goals against the Lightning, the native of Roubaix, France became the first Frenchman in NHL history to record a hat trick. His three-point night ties his career-high for most points in a single game, matching his one goal, two assist outing on Oct. 31, 2015 vs. San Jose. The forward has 25 points (11-14=25) in 56 games this season, ranking fourth on the club with 11 goals. He leads the NHL with 115 penalty minutes and checks in at second among club forwards with 2:01 shorthanded TOI/G. Roussel is riding a two-game point streak vs. the Coyotes (0-2=2) and has points in five of his last six contests against them (0-5=5). On home ice against Arizona, he has points in three consecutive games (0-3=3) and has inked the scoresheet in four of his five career contests (1-3=4) at American Airlines Center. He made his NHL debut and lit the lamp for his first career NHL point (1-0=1) on Feb. 1, 2013 vs. the Coyotes. Over his NHL career, he has seven points (2-5=7) in 12 games against Arizona.