For the Phoenix Coyotes, that means retooling a roster that
missed the playoffs for a second straight season. For the Dallas
Stars, the plans are more immediate: a first-round playoff series
with the Anaheim Ducks after a six-year postseason absence.
"I love the playoffs," Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. "It's a fun
time of year and I want to see some of our guys that have never been
in it — how they react. That's the really exciting part because the
playoffs always have one or two guys that jump out."
Even though Sunday's game was meaningless, Ruff still took it hard
when right wing David Moss scored with 2:31 remaining in regulation
and the Coyotes snapped a season-high seven-game losing streak with
a 2-1 win over the Stars on Sunday at Jobing.com Arena.
"I still slammed a water bottle there at the end," Ruff said. "You
still don't want to lose."
The Stars wrapped up the final Western Conference wild card spot on
Friday with a win over St. Louis so the loss won't sting for long.
The same can't be said of the Coyotes, who led Dallas by five points
two weeks ago, but didn't win another game until it didn't matter.
"It's nice to win but that's a very hollow game," Coyotes coach Dave
Tippett said. "That's hard for coaches, that one, because you want
to push and it's hard to push in a game like that."
Tippett had never missed the postseason two straight years in his
coaching career before now, but his team scored just nine goals in
that seven-game skid and never found a way to get over the hump this
"We've overachieved here. It's almost in the identity," he said of
past years. "I didn't feel like we overachieved enough."
Dallas rested a handful of normal starters in the game and will open
the playoffs on Wednesday in Anaheim against the Western
Conference's top seed. The Stars flew to Anaheim immediately after
the Coyotes game to prepare.
"I'm not going to say too much and give away our secrets but
everyone's excited and ready to go," Dallas center Tyler Seguin
said, laughing. "We've been preparing for this for the past 15 to 20
games, playing playoff hockey almost every night."
Center Colton Sceviour gave Dallas an early 1-0 lead with a
power-play goal that provided two examples of sleight of hand. Stars
center Vern Fiddler sent a no-look, backhand pass from the boards to
Sceviour in stride in the slot. Sceviour dropped goalie Thomas
Greiss to his knees and slipped a backhand into the far side of the
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Coyotes right wing Shane Doan evened the game 31 seconds into the
second period with his third goal in his last four games. Doan
redirected defenseman Zbynek Michalek's shot from the point past
goalie Tim Thomas, who made 29 saves for the Stars.
For Doan, who signed a long-term deal to remain with the Coyotes two
seasons ago, the end of the season was a bitter pill to swallow.
Doan missed a month of the season with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
and didn't round back into shape until it was too late.
"From the beginning of December until March I really was useless,"
the Phoenix captain said. "It's disappointing, you're frustrated and
you wish you could have helped out."
NOTES: Coyotes LW Lauri Korpikoski played his 400th career game. ...
The Coyotes finished the season with their highest ranked power-play
unit (fourth) since moving to the Phoenix area in 1996. ... Dallas
LW Jamie Benn, D Trevor Daley, LW Ray Whitney, D Brenden Dillon and
G Kari Lehtonen sat out Sunday's game as the Stars prepared for
their first playoff series since 2008. ... Coyotes RW Shane Doan's
23 goals are his highest goal total since 2008-09 (career-high 31).
Doan missed a month of this season after contracting Rocky Mountain
Spotted Fever. ... Dallas C Tyler Seguin is the franchise's first
player to finish among the top five NHL players in points since RW
Dino Ciccarelli finished fifth in 1986-76 with 89 points as a member
of the Minnesota North Stars.
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