Game Preview: Stars at Coyotes

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 09: Taylor Pyatt of the Phoenix Coyotes celebrates with teammates Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Adrian Aucoin after Pyatt scored a first period goal against the Minnesota Wild during the NHL game at Jobing.com Arena on December 9, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Coyotes are looking to get a win before heading on the road. (Photo Courtesy: PicApp.com)

I am apologize for my lack of activity on this blog the last couple of days.  I have been busy with work and studying for finals at school so that is why I have been inactive.  I am back to look at tonight’s Stars/Yotes matchup.  These teams have had some fun games over the years and I expect tonight to no different.

Dave Tippett is very familiar with many current Stars as he their former head coach before heading to the desert last season.  Dallas is coming in playing really good hockey with winning seven of their last 10 games.  They are coming off of of a shootout victory over Carolina at home last night, so they could have some tired legs.

Dallas has some elite players in Brad Richards, Loui Eriksson, James Neal and Mike Ribeiro.  Richards has 34 points in 28 games and has scored at least point in his last five games.  Eriksson is averaging nearly a point a game, which is well above his career average.  Neal is tied in points with Eriksson in points with 27 and Ribeiro is having another good season with 23 points.  The Coyotes will need to limit all four of these guys in order to get a win tonight.

Andrew Raycroft has started the two previous games for Dallas replacing Kari Lehtonen in goal.  Lehtonen has been battling a back injury and won’t be playing tonight.  Raycroft has been up and down in his last two starts and he has last his last three starts in Phoenix.  The Desert Dogs are going to have to take advantage of him being between the pipes and not Lehtonen.  It is a big drop off between the two.

It is tough to say at this early stage of the season that a game is a must win, but this is about as close as you can get to a must win for the Coyotes.  They have struggled this month so far and are heading out on a brutal six-game eastern road trip after tonight.  A win tonight could give them some confidence before going out on the road.

Tags: Andrew Raycroft Brad Richards Dallas Stars Dave Tippett James Neal Kari Lehtonen Loui Eriksson Mike Ribeiro

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