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Mar 19, 2024 10:53 pm

Wyatt Johnston powering Stars ahead of Coyotes tilt

wyatt johnston

Budding star Wyatt Johnston is a big reason the Dallas Stars are in the mix to win the Central Division.

Looking to extend his goal streak to five games, Johnston will try to help the Stars keep the visiting Arizona Coyotes from a third consecutive victory Wednesday night.

Dallas (41-19-9, 91 points) trails Winnipeg and Colorado by two points in the Central. The Stars avoided a third straight defeat Saturday with a 4-1 home victory over Los Angeles — their sixth win in eight contests.

“Past couple of games we’ve had some good periods, but we haven’t strung together a full 60 minutes,” said Johnston, who scored his 26th goal against the Kings, tying him with Roope Hintz for the team lead.

“I think (Saturday’s win) was a good step in that direction. In the playoffs, you’ve got to be playing a full 60 minutes every time and can’t afford to take your foot off the pedal at any point in any of the games, so I think (Saturday’s performance) was good.”

After totaling 41 points as a rookie last season, Johnston, who turns 21 in May, ranks fifth on the team with 53 through 69 games in 2023-24. In the last 16 games, Johnston has recorded 11 goals and nine assists. He also has 11 points in the last 12 games at home.

Johnston has two goals with an assist during the Stars’ five-game winning streak against the Coyotes (28-35-5, 61 points). Johnston was held without a point during Dallas’ 4-3 overtime win at Arizona on Nov. 14, but teammates Tyler Seguin and Matt Duchene each had a goal with an assist in that contest.

Dallas’ Jake Oettinger stopped 23 of 26 shots at Arizona but has yielded 16 goals while splitting his last four starts overall. Stars backup and former Coyote Scott Wedgewood made 27 saves Saturday and owns a 1.75 goals-against average while going 2-1-1 in his last four starts.

Arizona has endured a disjointed season and is set to miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season, but it is 5-4-0 this month after closing February in an 0-2-12 rut. The Coyotes are coming off back-to-back 4-1 victories at Detroit from Thursday and vs. New Jersey on Saturday.

Star Clayton Keller recorded a goal and an assist Saturday for the Coyotes, who scored three first-period goals. Arizona hasn’t won three in a row since a four-game run Dec. 15-21.

“It can be challenging (to play with a multi-goal lead), but I think we handled it pretty well (Saturday),” Arizona defenseman J.J. Moser said. “That’s what it’s all about, to learn how to handle that lead and keep it going.”

The team leader with 59 points, Keller has five goals with two assists in the last six games. He has totaled three goals and three assists in his last seven vs. Dallas.

After posting a 5.34 goals-against average while losing his first starts of 2024, the Coyotes’ Karel Vejmelka is 3-2-0 with a 2.22 GAA. Meanwhile, teammate Connor Ingram (2.81 GAA) has won two of his last three starts.

–Field Level Media

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