GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Anaheim Ducks want to end the 2014-15 regular season on a high note and with the top seed in the Western Conference.
The Ducks would be the top seed in the Western Conference for the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they defeat the Arizona Coyotes in regulation or overtime. They would also finish first if they defeat the Coyotes in a shootout and the St. Louis Blues fail to defeat the Minnesota Wild in regulation or overtime Saturday. Anaheim could still get the top seed with one point Saturday if the Blues lose to the Wild in regulation.
Anaheim also would like some positive momentum heading into the playoffs. They have lost two straight and were defeated 4-0 at home against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The San Jose Sharks are doing everything they can to stretch their run of Stanley Cup Playoff appearances to 11 straight seasons.
The Sharks still need help to get there, but a fifth win in six games and a second victory in as many nights against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday (9 p.m. ET; CSN-CA+, FS-A+) is a must.
The Sharks moved within three points of the Los Angeles Kings and Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference with a 3-1 win against the Coyotes in San Jose on Friday. The Kings and Jets each have a game in hand, meaning the Sharks must keep winning to have any hope of sneaking past them.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Buffalo Sabres will be without leading scorer Tyler Ennis for a second straight game Monday when they play against the Arizona Coyotes (10 p.m. ET; MSG-B, BELL TV, FS-A PLUS) for the second time in five days.
Ennis missed the 5-3 loss Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche with a left shoulder injury and took to the ice very late Monday for some non-contact drills.
The Coyotes looked good on a three-game road trip with overtime wins against Buffalo and the Detroit Red Wings and a good effort in 3-2 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. Goalie Mike Smith continues to play his best hockey of the season and Arizona is now six points ahead of the Sabres, who have an NHL-low 48 points.
Vancouver earned a huge 4-1 win Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings. Fomer Coyote Radim Vrbata scored his 27th goal and added an assist to help the Canucks moved four points ahead of the Kings in the Pacific Division.
But Burrows took a hit from behind by Kings forward Tyler Toffoli in the third period. Burrows skated one shift before leaving the game for good. Toffoli was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct for the hit.
The Penguins come to Arizona having been outscored 11-2 in four straight losses, including a 2-1 loss against the Dallas Stars on Thursday. It's the first time the Penguins have lost four consecutive games in regulation since the 2011-12 season. They are now even with the Washington Capitals at 88 points in the battle for third place in the Metropolitan Division, although they hold a game in hand.
For Arizona, three points up on the Buffalo Sabres at the bottom of the NHL standings, the struggles are on a much larger scale. The Coyotes have lost 16 of the past 17 games thanks to an offense that has produced 22 goals in that span.
GLENDALE Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes continue to make it tough on the opposition to score.
But it's not translating to wins because they aren't able to score themselves.
Coming into the game with the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, the Coyotes have lost 15 of their past 16 games and a lack of offense has been the obvious culprit.
Arizona was shut out for the 10th time this season, 1-0 against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday. They have been shut out or limited to one goal in seven of the past eight games and in nine of the past 11 games. They have a total of 20 goals in the past 16 games, which has resulted in a 1-14-1 record that has pushed them below the Edmonton Oilers into last in the Western Conference for the first time this season.
He didn't practice Friday and the team didn't have a morning skate Saturday. But Ekman-Larsson, who was hit into the boards from behind by Joakim Nordstrom of the Chicago Blackhawks during a 2-1 loss Thursday, appears to have escaped serious injury.
Nordstrom was suspended for two games Friday for the hit on Ekman-Larsson.
"He's day-to-day and we haven't ruled him out," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said. "It looked like it could have been a lot worse than it was."
The veteran center returns Thursday to play against the Arizona Coyotes for the first time since the March 1 trade between the two teams.
Vermette found out he was traded to Chicago just before he stepped on the team plane following a game in Boston. He decided to take the flight to Arizona, giving him more than four hours to say his goodbyes to his now former teammates and prepare for what was ahead.
"It's strange. I'm not going to lie," Vermette said Thursday. "This is certainly a little different, but you've got to get past that."
Korpikoski, in the midst of a disappointing season with six goals and a minus-24 rating, had been nursing an upper-body injury for several games but it worsened during a 2-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. The Coyotes had 12 forwards on their roster so they used an emergency call-up to summon Brendan Shinnimin from the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League.
"There are a number of guys playing well down there, but we wanted to see Shinnimin at center," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said.
Goalie Louis Domingue will make his second-career start for the Coyotes. Domingue won his NHL debut on Feb. 1 in his hometown, defeating the Canadiens 3-2 in Montreal. Mike Smith has played eight straight games and was strong with 31 saves Saturday but will get a break.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Any win in the National Hockey League is great. A win after 10 straight regulation losses has the added bonus of lifting a burden off the players' shoulders.
The smiles on the faces of Arizona Coyotes players after their 3-2 shootout win against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday were ones of relief. After not winning anywhere for a month and at Gila River Arena for almost two months, the sound of music, loud voices and laughing in the dressing room was long overdue.
"It was a great feeling. A long time coming," said Coyotes forward Sam Gagner, who had the only goal in the shootout to get the Coyotes the win. "With all that happened here, with all the players coming and going at the [NHL Trade Deadline], it's a huge weight off your shoulders for sure."
It's an incredible feeling just to see it go in and see the Joe go pretty crazy. Ever since the introduction there, I was kind of feeling the nerves, and to put that one home, I started to feel comfortable and I thought my play started to pick up.
— Nineteen-year-old Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin after scoring a goal in his NHL debut
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