DALLAS -- Daniel Briere's potential has teased the Phoenix Coyotes before. They hope this time he's the real thing, especially with the playoffs looming.
Briere's first goal of the season midway through the second period capped Phoenix's comeback from a two-goal deficit as the Coyotes and Dallas Stars tied 2-2 Sunday.
Recalled on Saturday from Springfield of the American League, Briere skated up the right side, went in alone and beat Stars goaltender Ed Belfour from close range at 10:46 of the second period.
"I wanted to come in here and let them know if they need me, I'll be ready to help them in the playoffs," said Briere, the 24th overall pick of the 1996 draft. "It's been a roller coaster ride this season, but the dream is still there and the fire's still burning."
Dallas, the Pacific Division champion and defending Stanley Cup winner, took a 2-0 second-period lead on goals by Mike Keane and Roman Lyashenko before Phoenix rallied behind Briere and Shane Doan's second-period goal.
The second-seeded Stars will be host to the Western Conference's seventh-place finisher -- either Edmonton or San Jose pending the result of Sunday night's Vancouver-San Jose game -- in a first-round playoff series.
Sixth-seeded Phoenix has a first-round series against No. 3 Colorado.
With top forwards Keith Tkachuk (ankle) and Juha Ylonen (stomach) out for Phoenix, the Coyotes want to see more of the Briere, who was a factor in Sunday's game.
Earlier this season, Briere played 12 games with the Coyotes, but the 22-year-old center was sent back to Springfield after contributing only one assist. Briere scored 29 goals in 58 games for Springfield, earning him another look.
"I thought he was very good today," said Coyotes coach Bob Francis. "He moved well, created a number of quality chances and was in position to use his speed."
The Stars will open defense of the Stanley Cup winless in their last five regular-eason games (0-3-2), but Dallas center Mike Modano expressed confidence his team will be mentally sharp.
"We know what it takes to step it up for the playoffs," Modano said. "The experience we gained last year can take us a long way. We had to go through it first hand to understand it. We know what buttons to push."
Dallas took a 1-0 lead on Keane's 13th goal from the bottom of the left circle. Lyashenko's wrist shot from the slot for his sixth goal made it 2-0 at 3:43 of the second period.
Phoenix narrowed the deficit to 2-1 later in the second period on Doan's rebound, his 26th goal. Briere's 10th NHL goal tied it.
Teppo Numminen, Jeremy Roenick and Jyrki Lumme were scratched for Phoenix.
Stars left wing Jere Lehtinen returned to the lineup after missing 35 games due to an ankle injury. Lehtinen played almost 14 minutes, finished with four shots on goal, and said he had no pain in the troublesome ankle that forced him to miss a total of 65 games this season.
Lehtinen, a two-time winner of the Selke Trophy as the league's top defensive forward, is a key to the Stars' chances of repeating.
"I was a little tired in the third period, but I felt good," said Lehtinen. "It's good to get over this and get ready for the playoffs. It's been tough not playing for 3« months."
Scratched for the Stars were regulars Jamie Langenbrunner, Guy Carbonneau, Richard Matvichuk and Grant Marshall. Defenseman Sergei Zubov remains out with a knee injury.
Before the game the Stars honored right wing Brett Hull and his father, Bobby. The highest scoring father-son combinaton in league history, the Hulls are tied for No. 9 on the all-time list with 610 goals each.
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