Coyotes hope to snap drought in Dallas

NHL Hockey
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The Arizona Coyotes look to win in Texas for the first time in over eight years when they visit the Dallas Stars on Wednesday.

The Coyotes are 0-9-3 in their past 12 games in Dallas, with their most recent win there coming on Feb. 7, 2012. A loss Wednesday would tie an Arizona franchise record for consecutive road losses to a single opponent.

Wins over the Stars in any location have been a tall order for the Coyotes, who are only 1-9-1 in their past 11 games against Dallas. The most recent meeting between the teams took place on Dec. 29, when the Stars scored four unanswered third-period goals in a 4-2 victory in Phoenix.

The Coyotes head to Dallas with a two-game winning streak after impressive home victories over the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders. Monday’s 2-1 win over New York was the type of closely contested game Arizona has become accustomed to, as 10 of the Coyotes’ past 11 games have been decided by two or fewer goals.

“It’s been [playing hard] until the end, a lot of battling, a lot of blocks, a lot of hits,” Coyotes goalie Antti Raanta said. “That’s what you have to do. You have to fight through those things, and when you’re going through the tough breaks like that, you want to get those bounces [going] your way. … Every night you have to put everything on the line.”

Raanta stopped 64 of 66 shots over those two games, continuing the goaltender’s outstanding February. In seven games this month, Raanta is 4-2-1 with a 1.85 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage.

Since the Coyotes also play Thursday in St. Louis, Raanta and backup Adin Hill likely will split the back-to-back starts against the Stars and Blues, unless Darcy Kuemper (lower-body injury) is able to return to action.

Arizona moved into a Western Conference wild-card berth after Monday’s victory, though the Coyotes also are one of five teams within two points of first place in the congested Pacific Division.

Dallas is in a first-place battle of its own with the Blues and Colorado Avalanche in the Central Division. The Stars have boosted themselves into contention thanks to a 6-1-2 record in February.

The Stars’ four-game win streak ended Sunday with a 4-3 road loss to the Ottawa Senators in overtime. Interim head coach Rick Bowness said he felt his team did well to come away with a point given that the Stars were playing their fourth game in six days.

“We’ve played a lot of road games this month early, and it caught up to us tonight,” Bowness said, describing his team as “brain-dead” in the sense that the Stars were “just a little slow with … decisions and a little slow with the reads, that gets you a little bit behind and gives them an extra step on you.”

Ben Bishop will be the probable starter in net for Dallas on Wednesday. Bishop is 12-8-2 with a 2.06 GAA and .933 save percentage at home this season.

Joe Pavelski is on a seven-game point streak, with nine total points (five goals, four assists) during that span.

Special-teams play figures to be a key factor in Wednesday’s contest.The Stars are 9 for 27 on the power play over their past eight games, while Arizona is 18 for 18 in penalty kills over its past five.

–Field Level Media

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