Dallas (17-9-2) at Arizona (13-8-6)

Fair Currently: Glendale, AZ
Temp: 66° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Sat Dec 11, 2010
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Kari Lehtonen(notes) is ailing again, but Andrew Raycroft(notes) is doing his part to soften the blow. The Dallas Stars may need at least one more strong effort from the veteran goaltender.

Raycroft is expected to be back in net as the Stars go for their eighth win in 10 games when they visit the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.

Lehtonen has already missed the last two games with stiffness in his lower back and is slated to be out for at least one more.

The goaltender, who has missed much of the past two seasons with groin and back injuries, has been important to Dallas (17-9-2) moving atop the Pacific Division, going 13-7-2 with a 2.59 goals-against average.

Raycroft, however, is proving he’s more than capable of filling in, posting a 4-2-0 record, 1.90 GAA and the Stars’ lone shutout in seven appearances.

He turned in another strong effort Friday, making 22 saves through overtime before stopping all three shootout attempts while Brad Richards(notes) netted the deciding try in a 2-1 win over Carolina.

“Andrew Raycroft was just outstanding,” coach Marc Crawford said. “What can you say about Brad Richards? He just finds a way to score and it’s such an important element in today’s NHL, that you’ve got the shootout. We only needed the one goal, so that’s great when you’ve got your goaltender playing as well as Andrew Raycroft played for us. It’s a huge two points.”

Raycroft, though, has lost all three of his games at Phoenix (13-8-6) with a 3.18 GAA while getting pulled once.

Richards, the Stars’ leader with 12 goals and 22 assists, had two goals and one assist to power a 6-3 win over the Coyotes on Nov. 5, as Dallas improved to 3-0-1 in the last four meetings.

The center had an assist in regulation Friday and has totaled six goals and 10 assists over the last 14 contests while being held without a point just twice in that stretch.

The Coyotes are trying to create some momentum before embarking on a six-game, 12-day road trip that ends in Dallas on Dec. 26.

Before that, Phoenix would like to avoid its first four-game home slide since Dec. 31-Jan. 12 after falling 3-2 to Minnesota on Thursday.

“I didn’t think we competed hard enough,” coach Dave Tippett said. “They played a very solid road game. They played a very disciplined game, a game where they make you earn everything you get, and we didn’t earn it.”

Taylor Pyatt(notes) has been an offensive surprise of late, scoring twice against the Wild after finding the net once in a 3-0 win at Anaheim on Sunday. The veteran left wing has six goals on the season, halfway to his total from 2009-10.

Pyatt, though, doesn’t have a point in his last eight games against Dallas, and didn’t even muster a shot in last month’s meeting.

Tippett, who coached the Stars from 2002-09, has gone 4-3-0 against his former team.

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Saturday, Dec 11