The Dallas Stars can clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they host the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday.
The Stars (45-30-5, 95 points) need just one point against the Coyotes (23-50-7, 53 points) after defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in a shootout on Tuesday.
“It gets you that much closer,” Dallas coach Rick Bowness said. “It’s right there. We want more. We need more. And we haven’t ruled out seventh place. We’ve got to get in. We need that one point to get in. We have two games to try to get in, and then hopefully take a run at seventh.”
While the game holds greater significance to the Stars than it does to 31st-place Arizona, they know they can’t take their opponent lightly.
“It’s not going to be easy,” forward Jason Robertson said. “I believe they just beat Minnesota, right, so anyone can beat anyone in this league. We’ve just got to come out with that same intensity and be aggressive, try to get that lead and try to take the game over because we need that win more than they do.”
Robertson scored both goals in regulation against Vegas — his ninth multi-goal game of the season — to hit the 40-goal mark. He’s the fourth player to realize the feat for the club since it relocated to Dallas in 1993-94. The 22-year-old has seven points in a four-game point streak, including three multi-point efforts.
“I’m just trying to make it (in the NHL),” he said. “I’m just trying to play hockey. Definitely couldn’t have got there without guys setting me up. … It’s just playing hockey. Like I said, I have the luxury of being on one of the top lines this year.”
The Coyotes are coming off a 5-3 victory against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, snapping a 10-game losing streak.
After skating to a two-goal lead in the third, they didn’t falter when Minnesota tied it and instead capitalized on an opportunity to retake the lead when Travis Boyd scored on a power play.
“The guys were well prepared with the level of focus of our team,” coach Andre Tourigny said. “We knew how they were going to attack, we tried to break their tendencies and momentum and we did a really good job. Give a lot of credit to our guys. They fought hard.”
Arizona has earned points in two straight and in three of their past four games.
“We lost our mojo for a 10-day period and it was not pretty,” Tourigny said. “You never know if you will get it back. It’s not a guarantee. It’s not easy. If it was easy, everybody would have it. To see the guys fighting like that at the end when it’s easy to just pack in, I’m really proud of them.”
Already setting career highs in goals (23) and points (57), Nick Schmaltz is one assist away from a new personal best in assists after a pair against Minnesota. He has 34 on the season, matching his career high set in 2019-20.
Phil Kessel is one goal away from 400 in his NHL career.
–Field Level Media