Dave Moss scored late in the third period, Thomas Greiss stopped 16 shots, and the Phoenix Coyotes ended a seven-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Sunday night in the season finale for both teams.
Knocked out of playoff contention Friday when the Stars beat St. Louis to clinch the final wild-card spot, the Coyotes wanted desperately to end their season-worst losing streak.
Greiss gave them a chance with some difficult saves, and Moss finished it with a one-timer past Stars goalie Tim Thomas with 2:31 left.
Shane Doan also scored for the Coyotes, who finished two points behind Dallas in the Western Conference and missed the playoffs for the second straight season.
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Dallas was already locked into a first-round playoff series with Anaheim and rested many of its key players.
The Stars kept it close behind Colton Sceviour’s first-period goal and 29 saves by Thomas, but couldn’t get anything past Greiss with an extra attacker in the closing seconds.
The Coyotes had hoped this season finale would put a stamp on their playoff bid.
Instead, it turned into a play-out-the-string game that mattered little to either team.
The Stars gave Phoenix every opportunity to take the Western Conference’s final playoff spot, yet the Coyotes were unable to make up any ground, thanks to a six-game losing streak.
Dallas clinched their first playoff appearance since 2008 by beating Colorado on Friday, and Phoenix still couldn’t shake its doldrums against depleted San Jose on Saturday, losing to the Sharks 3-2 for its seventh straight loss.
The Stars will open the playoffs on Wednesday, so captain Jamie Benn and assistant captains Trevor Daley and Ray Whitney were all given the night off against Phoenix.
As they did the night before, the Coyotes got off to a lackadaisical start and fell behind when Sceviour got Greiss off-balance with a couple of dekes and scored on a power play after a nifty backhand pass from Vernon Fiddler.
Phoenix generated some good chances in the second period, and Doan broke through with his 23rd goal, redirecting a shot from the point by Zbynek Michalek past Thomas.
In the third period, Greiss made consecutive saves on Tyler Seguin, including one on a rebound after sliding across the crease and nearly doing the splits.
Moss put the Coyotes up late, and Greiss made some difficult saves in the closing seconds after Dallas pulled Thomas.
Sceviour’s goal was his eighth of the season.