Upbeat Stars roll into clash with fading Coyotes
The Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes have been going in different directions heading into their meeting Saturday night in Glendale, Ariz.
The Stars have points in their past six games, although their five-game winning streak was snapped Thursday with a 3-2 overtime defeat at Nashville despite twice rallying from one-goal deficits in the third period.
The Stars took five of a possible six points in Nashville this season and the teams could meet in the first round of the playoffs.
"I just liked the way our team played in the third period, (and) our belief in each other again," Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. "We're coming out and believing we can win games. We put ourselves in a real good situation again (Thursday). We got a point. We got five of six points in this rink against a real good hockey team."
During their points streak, the Stars have outscored their opponents 11-5 in the third period. Dallas has earned points in three games this season when trailing entering the third period, including its past two games.
"We're definitely playing with a lot more tempo, and a lot more belief in ourselves," Stars defenseman Taylor Fedun told the Dallas Morning News. "We've really started to find ways to push late in games. I think there was a stretch there that was lacking for us a little bit. Hopefully, it's something we can maintain here moving forward because it's really important here, down the stretch, playing playoff-like hockey."
The Coyotes have lost five in a row, including a 4-2 defeat Thursday to Columbus in their first home game in almost three weeks. They had a pair of three-game trips sandwiched around the All-Star break and their bye week.
Arizona is four points behind St. Louis in the race for the Western Conference's second and final wild-card berth, but there are four teams between the Coyotes and Blues.
The Coyotes haven't been getting off to the best starts and took a 2-0 deficit into the second period Thursday.
"It's kind of been the story of the last five games," said Coyotes forward Jordan Oesterle, who stretched his point streak to three games with a goal and an assist. "There are certain parts of the game where we aren't mentally prepared. The start killed us tonight, and that's the consequences of not being ready."
Trailing 3-2, Arizona's Josh Archibald hit the post on a two-on-one break with 8:57 remaining.
"When there's times where we could've made that play to win, the other team's making that play to win," Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. "... A lot of what-ifs the last bunch of games, but tomorrow's another day and we've got to try to figure a way to get some wins here."
The Stars and Coyotes will be meeting for the second time in five days. The Stars won 5-4 on Monday at home, scoring four goals in the third period.
"We worked hard and competed and did our best to give ourselves a chance to win the game," Arizona forward Lawson Crouse told NHL.com after that game. "But at the end of the day, they got that clutch goal there at the end that determined the outcome."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 8, 2019