What had been missing was suddenly there.

The blue-collar work ethic, the stingy protection of their own zone and the committee involvement – all united by the urgency to re-establish the Coyotes’ philosophy before they became untangled from the clump of teams chasing after Chicago and Anaheim in the Western Conference standings.

This type of performance, a 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars Saturday in front of 15,892 at Jobing.com Arena, was so clearly who they are that it seemed foolish that the Coyotes ever lost track of that identity.

“It’s been a while since we played a game like that,” goalie Mike Smith said. “It’s a nice way to win a hockey game. Any win is nice, but it’s nice to do it the right way.”

Feb. 26 – the last time the Coyotes received unlikely offensive help when forward Kyle Chipchura scored twice en route to a 4-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks.

This time, the boost came from Rob Klinkhammer, who was recalled from the American Hockey League Friday and made his Coyotes debut once center Matthew Lombardi (upper-body) wasn’t able to go.