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the running to qualify for next months
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GLENDALE, Ariz. Garrett Celek Super Bowl Jersey . -- The proud fathers huddled near the Dallas Stars dressing room, smiling, laughing and telling stories while wearing replica green sweaters of their sons team. The Stars not only made their dads happy Tuesday night, they secured a key victory that improved their playoff chances. Antoine Roussel scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period, Kari Lehtonen stopped 26 shots and the Stars beat the sluggish Phoenix Coyotes 3-1 in front of 27 dads who took advantage of the franchises father road trip. "This is a little extra bonus," Lehtonen said of having his pop in the stands. "Its nice to have him here." Shawn Horcoff also scored and Ryan Garbutt added an empty-netter for the Stars, who won their second straight game and moved within one point of Phoenix and two of Vancouver, which holds the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Not bad for a team that less than a month ago was mired in a six-game losing streak. "It was a big win for us tonight," Garbutt said. "We had the dads in town and it was a fun game for the guys to play. Its kind of nice for the guys to be on a roll right now." Antoine Vermette scored his eighth goal in nine games and Mike Smith made 37 saves for the Coyotes, who were thoroughly outplayed in the final two periods despite the games importance. "It was really disappointing," Vermette said. "We have to find a way to win these games." Tied at 1 entering the third period despite a 31-18 edge in shots, the Stars took advantage of a bad line change and Kyle Chipchuras turnover at centre ice. The sequence ended with Roussels wrist shot from between the circles that beat Smith on the glove side at 3:25 for his ninth goal. "We turned over a lot of pucks and in the 1-on-1 battles just didnt do enough to give ourselves a better chance to win," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. It was another solid defensive effort for the Stars, three nights after blanking NHL-leading Anaheim 2-0 at the beginning of a three-game trip. When they arrived in Phoenix, so did most of the players fathers. They watched the Super Bowl together Sunday and visited a dude ranch Monday. The fathers then had great seats for Dallas fifth win in seven games and a big victory against another team jockeying for a playoff spot. Phoenix entered the night in ninth place in the West with 62 points, while Dallas was 10th with 59. With eight teams going to the playoffs and Vancouver losing at Boston earlier in the evening, Tuesdays meeting and Saturdays rematch in Dallas meant an opportunity to create space and clinch the season series. "We talked about this morning that two teams that are pretty similar and tight, somebodys going to take advantage of an opportunity and win a game," Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. "And I thought we were able to push through." Perhaps not surprisingly, there was little to separate the teams in the first period. And while the Stars had better chances early in the second, it was Vermette who continued his hot streak with a breakaway goal midway through the period to put Phoenix ahead. Vermette won the puck along the boards at centre ice and skated in alone, sending a backhander past Lehtonen at 9:18 to make it 1-0. It was Vermettes team-best 21st goal. Shortly after Vermette nearly scored another breakaway goal while short-handed, and with the Phoenix crowd booing what it felt should have been a Dallas penalty, the Stars tied it. Horcoffs no-look backhander from the slot on the power play slipped past Smith with 7:28 left in the second period. Dallas controlled the final period, with Garbutts empty-net goal with 26.7 seconds left putting it away and setting up a happy postgame reunion with the dads. "I think the ones whose sons scored are especially proud of them," Ruff said. "And they get to see it live. That part is good." NOTES: The Stars improved to 12-2-2 against Pacific Division opponents. ... Vermettes career-best, eight-game point streak matches Shane Doans for the longest of the season for the Coyotes. ... Vermette (367) and teammate Keith Yandle (359) extended the third- and fourth-longest active consecutive games played streaks in the NHL. ... The Coyotes have won consecutive games just once since mid-December. Kendrick Bourne Super Bowl Jersey . Each day, TSN.ca provides the latest rumours, reports and speculation from around the NHL beat. The latest from Bob As tweeted by TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie on Monday, the Columbus Blue Jackets need to resolve their offseason plans with forward R. KWaun Williams Super Bowl Jersey . The fourth-year guard from Carleton University kicked off his varsity career with rookie of the year honours in 2011, before racking up three straight Mike Moser Memorial Trophies for outstanding player. http://www.49ersofficialfanshop.com/mike...sales.html . -- Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno was admitted to the hospital Friday for observation due to minor complications from cancer treatments, his family said. VIENNA, Austria -- Top-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga outlasted the 149th-ranked Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3) Friday to reach the semifinals of the Erste Bank Open. Tsonga will take on Robin Haase of the Netherlands for a place in Sundays final, while second-seeded Tommy Haas of Germany faces Lukas Rosol of Czech Republic in the other semifinal. The eighth-ranked Frenchman, who won the event in 2011, missed a match point at 5-4 in the final set but converted his second chance in the tiebreaker after 2 hours, 15 minutes as Thiem hit a forehand long. "I was really poor from the baseline but I served well," said Tsonga, who had 16 aces. "I have played many matches like this so I have the experience. That made the difference. I am not in a good shape, I have to fight to win matches." The 20-year-old Thiem, who played in only his second quarterfinal, said the match was "unbelievable." "A third-set tiebreaker means the match could have gone either way," Thiem said. "I am proud I could match a top-10 player." Haas reached his seventh semifinal of the season by defeating fifth-seeded Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 7-6 (10), 6-3. The victory kept the 12th-ranked German in the running to qualify for next months ATP World Tour Finals in London. &qquot;I live from match to match," said Haas, who has never before played in the season-ending event. Joe Montana Super Bowl Jersey. Haas failed to serve out the opening set at 6-5 but won the tiebreaker after saving four set points for Stepanek. He converted his only break point in the second set. "It was mentally and physically tough," the second-seeded Haas said. "The tiebreaker was really great from both of us. I felt it was important to win it. If Id lost it, I would have been very frustrated." Haase, who won both his career titles in Austria, rallied to defeat third-seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-1 to advance to his fourth semifinal of the season. Haase didnt face a break point in the entire match. Fognini had 32 baseline errors and ended the match with his second double-fault. "I had my chances in the first set as well but lost it as he played an incredible passing shot," Haase said. "When I was 3-1 up in the decider and won five straight points from 40-0 down, I knew I wasnt going to lose this match." Earlier, Rosol beat Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium 6-3, 1-6, 6-3. Rosol broke the 176th-ranked qualifier once each in the first and final sets to reach his second career semifinal, and first since winning his maiden title in Bucharest in April. ' ' '
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