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Stars Fall To Coyotes In Shootout, See Playoff Hopes Dim

Glendale, AZ (Sports Network) – Ray Whitney scored the go-ahead goal in the fifth round of a shootout, lifting the Phoenix Coyotes to a 2-1 victory over Dallas.

Whitney’s shot only trickled over the goal line after Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen was unable to keep it squeezed between his legs as he drifted backwards.

Ilya Bryzgalov made a sliding save on Loui Eriksson at the other end, sealing Phoenix’s eighth win in 10 games (8-2).

David Schlemko scored in regulation for the Coyotes, who remained one point ahead of Los Angeles for the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. They are two points behind Pacific Division-leading San Jose with four games remaining.

“I’m not really thinking about big game or not,” said Bryzgalov, who made 44 saves. “You enjoy every game.”

Jamie Benn scored on a power play with 2:26 remaining in the second period to tie the game for the Stars, who have dropped four straight and fell to 1-3-3 in their last seven games. Lehtonen had 26 saves in defeat and Dallas moved within three points of Chicago for the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference.

After a scoreless first period — Bryzgalov made 12 saves, while Lehtonen had eight — Schlemko opened the scoring 12:09 into the second, netting a slap shot from the point just after a power play had run off.

Benn evened the score late in the second on a wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle that got through Bryzgalov.

The Coyotes netminder made 13 saves in the third period and two in overtime, while Lehtonen had seven stops in the third and three in overtime.

“We deserved a win tonight, but we didn’t get it,” Stars head coach Marc Crawford said. “I told the guys after the game that you have efforts like that you’re going to win 95-98 percent of your games. Their goalie was terrific tonight, and he was the difference for them.”

Game Notes

Bryzgalov improved to 13-8-2 in his career against Dallas…The Coyotes improved to 3-2 on a six-game homestand that ends against Colorado on Friday…The Stars are 0-1-1 on five-game road trip that also includes visits to San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim.

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