The Dallas Stars are going to have to survive without captain Brenden Morrow for the next several days. Morrow was placed on injured reserve with a neck/shoulder issue, but could have been eligible to return later this week. On Monday, coach Glen Gulutzan doused cold water on that possibility.
"We're not looking for him this trip. I don't think he'll be on this trip with us," Gulutzan told ESPN Dallas. "We're just preparing like he is not going to be here, and we'll wait to see what transpires over the next five or six days." The Stars will vie for their fourth win in five contests Tuesday when they host the Pacific Division rival Phoenix Coyotes.
The game begins a stretch of 12 contests in 20 games for Dallas, which is tied with Phoenix for ninth place in the Western Conference. The pair sit two points behind the eighth-place Minnesota Wild.
Phoenix Coyotes (24-21-8): Goaltender Mike Smith notched his 20th win of the season on Monday when he turned aside 30 shots in Phoenix's 3-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Smith, who was originally drafted by the Stars in 2001, stopped all 26 shots he faced in a 3-0 victory over Dallas on Nov. 26. The 29-year-old Smith has won all three career decisions versus Dallas. Center Martin Hanzal, who scored twice on Monday, has three goals in his last two games after being held off the scoresheet since Dec. 14.
Dallas Stars (27-22-2): Goaltender Kari Lehtonen seems to have worked out the kinks following his groin injury. The 28-year-old Finn won his third straight start Saturday when he turned aside 34 shots in a 2-1 shootout victory over the Wild. “I think it took him a couple games to get himself back," Gulutzan said. "The last three or four games he played, he was real, real sharp, so I think he’s back to where he needs to be." Lehtonen is 4-1-3 in his career versus the Coyotes.
1. With a shorthanded goal and an assist Monday, Phoenix center Boyd Gordon registered his second straight two-point effort. He was held off the scoresheet in all three contests versus the Stars this season.
2. Dallas has netted a power-play goal in three straight games. Success with the man advantage is pivotal for the Stars, who are 14-5-1 when they score on the power play - and 13-17-1 when they don't.
NHL PREDICTION: Stars 4, Coyotes 2
american airlines center - boyd gordon - brenden morrow - dallas stars - glen gulutzan - kari lehtonen - martin hanzal - mike smith - phoenix coyotes