Stars Stumble in Early Afternoon Matchup Against Coyotes, Lose 3-2

Even with the late third period surge, the Stars failed to complete the comeback against the Coyotes in their third and final meeting of the season.

The Dallas Stars were in Glendale on Saturday to take on the Arizona Coyotes for an afternoon duel in the desert. Looking for their 10th consecutive win against the Coyotes and to round out the three-game season sweep, Dallas matched up against Arizona for the second time in five days, this time farther west.

With goaltender Ben Bishop still out as a precaution, Anton Khudobin started with Landon Bow as his backup. Tyler Seguin was on a scoring roll, with five goals and eight points in the last six games. Alexander Radulov has been quiet lately, going 11 games without a goal, and Montgomery commented on him needing to find his game.

On the Coyotes side, Arizona is currently on a three-game losing skid, with the Stars themselves ending netminder Darcy Keumper’s nine-game win streak on Monday night. Defenseman Jakob Chychrun also was back in the lineup, putting Alex Goligoski back to the right side of the defense pair.

As these afternoon games usually tend to go, it was a weird one, with the majority of the story decided on special teams opportunities and goaltending. In the end, the Stars just ran out of time to catch up with the rolling Coyotes.

First Period

In what was a relatively good first period for the Stars on the road, there wasn’t a goal to be found for Dallas however. The Stars went to the penalty kill just under nine minutes in, with Blake Comeau sent to the box for tripping Clayton Keller. Just seven seconds later, former Star Alex Goligoski put the Coyotes ahead 1-0 with a wrist shot far side off of a feed from Alex Galchenyuk. This was the fourth straight game in which the Stars have given up the first goal. Not four minutes after, Dallas retuned to the penalty kill once again, with Roman Polak as the culprit for roughing against Galchenyuk, however the Stars killed it off.

In what was an opposite echo of the Brett Richtie hit on Goligoski, Lawson Crouse leaned hard into a face-and-head-first into the boards hit on Polak, who was slow to rise and went straight down the tunnel for concussion protocol. While Dallas didn’t find the back of the net on the ensuing power play, they did come close a few times, showing some sparks.

Anton Khudobin also had a very lucky period in the net, with a few good diving, sprawling saves made to keep Dallas in the game. Jamie Oleksiak missed the final 4:37 of the first period after being kicked in the face by a falling Arizona player’s skate. Overall, the Stars looked mostly awake, but were late in their defensive zone coverage.

Score: Dallas 0, Arizona 1

Shots: Dallas 15, Arizona 18

Second Period

The Coyotes took advantage of the Stars in the second and it certainly showed. To open, Oleksiak returned to the Dallas bench, but Polak did not as he was being evaluated for an upper body injury (he did not return for the rest of the period). Captain Jamie Benn was obviously displeased and took some of his emotions out on Crouse, which caused a kerfuffle in front of the Coyotes net.

About five minutes in, Connor Garland tripped Esa Lindell, sending Dallas to the power play. However, the Coyotes kept up their league-best penalty kill percentage and killed it off.  Not long after that, Montgomery starting shuffling the lines to try to spark some chemistry. He put the “Big Three” of Benn-Seguin-Radulov back together and slotted Mattias Janmark in with Radek Faksa and Comeau.

To continue what seemed to the be the rhythm of the night, it was Arizona’s turn on the power play, with Oleksiak sent to the box for tripping Vinnie Hinostroza. Galchenyuk took advantage, and put the Coyotes up 2-0 with a hammer of a one-timer off a cross-ice pass from Nick Cousins.

In the final 4:30 of the period, Dallas seemed to be finding their early afternoon feet, as they hemmed the Coyotes in their own zone and got some dangerous shots through to Arizona’s goaltender Darcy Keumper, but nothing found the back of the net quite yet.

Score: Dallas 0, Arizona 2

Shots: Dallas 10, Arizona 11

Third Period

With Polak still out, Montgomery went for the highest setting on the line blender, with John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen taking frequent shifts out together as a pair. Arizona took advantage of Dallas being down a man and capitalized on the confusion, with Galchenyuk notching another goal assisted by Clayton Keller to make it 3-0 Coyotes just under four minutes into the period.

With the clock ticking down, the Stars seemed to find another gear and started to push forward. Arizona’s Niklas Hjalmarsson was sent to the box for interference against Janmark, which put Dallas on the power play once more. In the end, Arizona’s penalty killing team came through and kept the Stars off the scoreboard.

With 3:39 left, Ritchie cashed in on being the only player who knew where the puck was in a scramble in front of the Arizona net. His work paid off, making it 3-1 and ending the Coyotes’ shutout bid for the afternoon.

Keumper made an unnecessary play, which made for an easy face-off win for the Stars. Remember that guy Alexander Radulov, who’s been needing to score? Well, he brought the Stars within one goal with 3:12 left in the period, assisted by Klingberg and Benn.

Dallas then went with an empty net at 1:20 left, as Khudobin headed to the bench for the extra attacker. With eight seconds on the clock, lines for each team were chipping at the puck stuck in the corner. Oliver Ekman-Larsson got up from falling on the ice, clearly unhappy, and had some words for Benn. The Dallas captain didn’t take too kindly to them, causing a kerfuffle.

Even with the Coyotes zone setup for the final face-off, the Stars couldn’t capitalize on the chance, leaving them down one and Arizona leaving with all of the points.

Final Score: Dallas 2, Arizona 3

Final Shots: Dallas 35, Arizona 39

The Stars continue their road trip on Tuesday, February 12, out on the east coast, taking on the Florida Panthers at 6 p.m. CST.