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NHL Game Preview for Saturday February 18: Dallas Stars vs. Phoenix Coyotes

Written by Michael Gordon   
Tuesday, 14 February 2012 22:28

2012 Odds Dallas Stars vs. Phoenix Coyotes Sports Betting Online Overview
To say that the Phoenix Coyotes came out of nowhere to jump into the Western Conference playoff hunt is an exaggeration. The Coyotes have been hovering around the eighth and final playoff spot for some time now. It just took a couple of sustained winning streaks to push the team into the top eight. The price per head sports experts were curious to see how the Coyotes would react to the loss of goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to the Philadelphia Flyers. The play of newly-acquired goalie Mike Smith from the Tampa Bay Lightning has allowed Phoenix to move on from Bryzgalov and make a new playoff push. The roster of the Coyotes has changed a lot in the past couple of years. But the team continues to remain a playoff contender despite the changes.

The Dallas Stars were near the top of the Pacific Division in the first half of the season. But as the 2012 March Madness betting gets closer, the Stars are finding themselves falling further and further down the Western Conference standings. When play started last week, the Stars were in 11th place in the conference and had posted a 4-5-1 record in its previous 10 games.

The Stars seem to be struggling on the defensive side of the ice. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen was inconsistent at the beginning of the season, but he has picked up his play as the year has gone on. But the Dallas defense is leaving Lehtonen alone in the defensive zone and forcing Lehtonen to make spectacular saves just to keep Dallas in the game. A sportsbook review of the Stars’ place in the standings indicates that Dallas needs every conference win it can get. Beating the Coyotes would go a long way towards bringing the Stars closer to their playoff goal.

Phoenix Coyotes
The Coyotes started the week coming off of a five-game winning streak that helped to push them into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Goaltender Mike Smith has been extremely strong for the Coyotes and the team’s offense seems to be coming back to life after struggling for most of the first half of the season. The Coyotes remain strong on both defense and offense and have even started to become one of the better power play teams in the league as well. But Phoenix still struggles to play a complete 60-minute game every night. As the competition gets more intense, the Coyotes’ inconsistencies will become a problem.

Dallas Stars
The Stars have had so many ups and downs this season that the NHL fans in Dallas are getting seasick. As Dallas tries to climb out of its latest hole, it is finding it a little difficult to keep up on the defensive side of the game. Kari Lehtonen keeps the team in games for a while, but the defense eventually cracks and Dallas loses the game. That pattern could be a huge problem for the Stars when it faces off against the Coyotes.

The Bottom Line
The Coyotes are on a winning roll and the Stars have been snake bit as of late. That is not a winning combination for the team from Dallas.

Betting Sports News Free Pick: Phoenix Coyotes

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