Looking to halt an overall three-game losing streak and win for just the second time on home ice this season, Lindy Ruff’s Dallas Stars (6-9-4 overall, 1-5-4 at home) will host Dave Tippett’s Arizona Coyotes (8-9-2) on Thursday night. Game time at the American Airlines Center is 7:30 p.m. CST. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest.
This is the second of three meetings between the teams this season, and the first of two in Dallas. Last week, the Stars captured a hard-fought 4-3 win in Glendale as Ryan Garbutt scored a shorthanded goal with 1:16 remaining in regulation to secure the win. The season series concludes with a New Year’s Eve clash in Dallas.
The Stars enter this game coming off a 6-4 home loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Dallas led 2-0 after the first period but the bottom dropped out in a disastrous second period that saw Carolina explode for four unanswered goals and then add a fifth goal just nine seconds into the third period.
On the injury front, Patrick Eaves (foot) has been cleared to play after practicing on Wednesday. Garbutt, who sustained an upper body injury in the game against the Hurricanes, is out for about a week. Valeri Nichushkin (hip surgery) is out for four months. Patrik Nemeth (severe forearm laceration from a skate cut) is out for the season.
Earlier this week, the Stars placed defenseman Kevin Connauton on waivers and lost him to a claim by the Columbus Blue Jackets. In the meantime, the club has recalled puck-moving defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka from the American Hockey League’s Texas Stars for his second stint of the season with the big club. Jokipakka will be in the lineup against the Coyotes. The most likely candidate to be a healthy scratch is one of Jamie Oleksiak or Jordie Benn.
In Tuesday’s game, Ruff used a revised top line of Cody Eakin centering Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. That line is likely to start another game together. However, the second line has been changed up yet again with Antoine Roussel and Ales Hemsky flanking Jason Spezza at Wednesday’s practice according to Stars Inside Edge.
Arizona enters this game coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.