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Dallas Stars Vs. Phoenix Coyotes: Stars Desperate For Win, Four Points Out Of Playoff Spot

(Sports Network) - A winning record on the Stars' current five-game road trip will go a long way in helping them reach the playoffs. That makes Saturday's loss in the opener tough to swallow.

Dallas will try to bounce back from its third straight setback this evening versus the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena.

The Stars kicked off their swing versus Nashville, dropping a 4-2 decision to a club that is tied for fifth in the Western Conference. Dallas, which is 10th overall in the standings and four points back of a playoff spot with eight games to play, will also visit San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim and all five teams on this swing are above the Stars in the standings.

Defenseman Alex Goligoski scored in a third straight game and Brenden Morrow also scored, but the Stars still lost for the fifth time in six games. Kari Lehtonen made 28 saves in his 15th straight start and Mike Ribeiro added two assists.

"I don't know if we all realize exactly what the record has been, but I think we all know the situation we're in," Stars captain Brenden Morrow told Dallas' website. "We need to collect points and tonight was another missed opportunity. That's a great team over there, they do things the right way, they play hard, you got to really work for everything against them, but tonight was another missed opportunity. It feels like we've had a lot of those lately."

Dallas will be gunning for a split of its season series with Phoenix, which currently sits fourth overall in the West, just one point up on Los Angeles and Nashville. The Stars ended a three-game losing streak to the Coyotes with a thrilling 3-2 win at Arena on March 1.

The Coyotes' Ray Whitney had tied the game with 37.7 seconds left in regulation, but the Stars' Jamie Benn tallied with 4.8 ticks remaining as Dallas beat Phoenix for just the fourth time in the past 14 meetings overall and for the second time in last seven played in the desert.

Benn had an assist in Saturday's defeat, giving him eight goals and 14 points in his past 12 games.

Lehtonen is 2-1-2 with a 2.38 goals-against average versus the Coyotes, who lost for only the second time in nine games overall with a 4-1 setback to the Sharks on Saturday. However, the defeat dropped Phoenix four points back of first-place San Jose in the Pacific Division standings.

Mikkel Boedker scored the lone goal for the Coyotes and Ilya Bryzgalov made 28 saves in defeat.

"We weren't good enough in any area," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "They kind of controlled play and we have to be better."

Both Vernon Fiddler (undisclosed) and Lauri Korpikoski (upper body) missed Saturday's game and are day-to-day. Korpikoski is tied with Doan and Radim Vrbata for the club lead in goals with 18.

The Coyotes are 2-2-0 on a six-game homestand, which wraps on Friday versus the Avalanche. After a trip to Los Angeles, Phoenix closes its regular season with a home-and-home against San Jose.

Bryzgalov is 12-8-2 with a 2.33 GAA in his career against Dallas.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.