The Dallas Stars are hoping to break out of a small slump this evening in Phoenix. The Coyotes have been anything but a struggling team this month.
The Coyotes look to extend a season-high seven-game point streak this evening versus the Stars, having gone 6-0-1 over that time. Having notched a possible 13 of 14 points in February has Phoenix tied with Los Angeles for the seventh spot in the Western Conference, two ahead of ninth-place Calgary. The Coyotes also sit four points behind the Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division.
After a shootout loss to Vancouver on Monday snapped a five-game win streak, Phoenix rebounded on Thursday with a 1-0 victory over Los Angeles. Mike Smith made 28 saves for his second straight shutout, fourth of the season and 15th of his career.
Smith, who was rested on Monday in favor of backup Jason LaBarbera, had logged 38 saves to blank the Blackhawks last Saturday and has won a career-high six straight games. He hasn't lost since Jan. 31 and brings a consecutive shutout streak of 138 minutes and 49 seconds into tonight's contest.
"This was a whole team effort and we're finding a way to win," said Smith. "The last few minutes were frantic, but I thought we handled it pretty good."
Radim Vrbata had the lone goal on Thursday for the Coyotes, who have won four straight at home. They could be without Rostisalv Klesla tonight after he suffered an upper-body injury versus the Kings. Derek Morris (illness) and Taylor Pyatt (upper body) are also questionable.
The Stars come into this meeting four points behind the Coyotes and Kings in the standings. They snapped a three-game slide with Thursday's 3-2 overtime triumph against the visiting Flames.
"For us, I mean the points are so ridiculously close right now," said Ott. "What a sick individual play by Mike Ribeiro to cap off a big goal."
The Stars were able to gut out a win despite losing leading scorer Jamie Benn to a leg laceration in the second period. Benn has a team-high 49 points, including 17 goals.
"It's a pretty decent-size cut," said Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan. "He's just going to be day-to-day. There's a possibility he could play, probably not [Saturday] in Phoenix, but maybe here on Sunday [versus Nashville]."
Defenseman Sheldon Souray, meanwhile, has missed the past four with a bruised foot, while fellow blueliner and pending free agent Nicklas Grossman was dealt to Philadelphia on Thursday for a pair of draft picks: A second-rounder in 2012 and a third-round selection the following year.
The Coyotes are 2-0-2 versus the Stars this season, winning two straight after a pair of shootout losses. Phoenix is 6-1-2 in the past nine encounters overall.