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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, April 13th (All times Eastern)

Dallas Stars (40-30-11) at Phoenix Coyotes (36-30-15), 9 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - Thanks to a recent victory over one of the top teams in the NHL, the Dallas Stars won't be fighting for their playoff lives on Sunday night.

Instead, the wild card winners can use this evening's matchup with the Phoenix Coyotes as a tune up before making their first postseason appearance in six years.

Dallas was in a battle with Phoenix for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference, but coupled a recent slump by the Coyotes with Friday's 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues to officially clinch the spot.

Thanks to 22 saves by Kari Lehtonen in his fifth shutout of the season and 27th of his career, the Stars are in the postseason for the first time since 2008. Dallas will take on the top-seeded Anaheim Ducks in the opening round.

"We believe we can win. We know how tough it is. I've been through those first round series and they're tough," said Dallas head coach Lindy Ruff. "They're physical and there's a lot of emotion in the first round. We've hardened ourselves by getting in the playoffs via the route we've taken."

Tyler Seguin and Ryan Garbutt both scored while Trevor Daley supplied a goal and an assist. Jamie Benn contributed two assists for Dallas, which won two of three on its final homestand of the regular season.

In his first season with the Stars, Seguin leads the club with 37 goals, 47 assists and 84 points -- all career highs -- while Benn is second with 34 goals, 45 helpers and 79 points. Benn has four goals and four assists over a five-game point streak.

The Coyotes saw their playoff-damaging losing streak reach seven straight games (0-4-3) with last night's 3-2 setback to the San Jose Sharks. Mike Doan and Mike Ribeiro had the goals, giving Phoenix nine tallies over its seven- game skid.

"It's a frustrating time. You're in this business to win," said Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett. "When you're close and you're not winning, it's probably even more frustrating. That's the worst thing about these games coming down the stretch. We've given points away that would have certainly helped the cause."

Mark Visentin made 29 saves to lose his NHL debut. The 27th overall pick of the 2010 draft was recalled from the minors one day after No. 1 netminder Mike Smith suffered a lower-body injury on March 24. Thomas Greiss started eight games in a row in Smith's place before last night's contest.

The Coyotes are 0-2 versus the Stars this season and have lost five of the previous seven meetings overall. Dallas snapped a four-game series road losing streak with a 3-1 victory on Feb. 4.

04/13 11:01:44 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
UCONN
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
IND
 
9:00pm Tonight
CAL
CAR
 
Final
KAN 7
SFG 2
Final
ORL 89
HOU 90
Final
BOS 100
BRK 86
Final
NYK 103
WAS 100
Final
MEM 96
CLE 92
Final
MIL 91
MIN 110
Final
SAN 107
ATL 117
Final
LAL 94
POR 86
Final
LAC 108
PHO 105
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
IND
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
PHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
DAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
UCONN
8:00pm Tonight
VT
MIAMI
7:00pm Wednesday
OTT 0
TOR 0
Final
PIT 3
PHI 5
Final
EDM 3
WAS 2
Final
ANA 4
BUF 1
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
NYI
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
PIT
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
ARI
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
CHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
STL
VAN
 
9:00pm Tonight
CAL
CAR
 
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
BUF
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
CLB
 
8:25pm Tonight
DEN
SDC