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At the Rink blog

Coyotes' Ribeiro, Morris remain scratches vs. Devils

Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 1:21 PM

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

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Coyotes' Ribeiro, Morris remain scratches vs. Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett will make some changes from the lineup he used for a 3-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, but center Mike Ribeiro and defenseman Derek Morris aren't part of them.

Ribeiro and Morris will be healthy scratches for the second straight game as the Coyotes prepare to play the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Thursday. Phoenix has a three-point cushion over the Dallas Stars for the second Western Conference wild-card position in the Stanley Cup Playoffs while the Devils are five points out of wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Defenseman Connor Murphy, who was recalled from Portland of the American Hockey League on Wednesday, will play for Brandon Gormley, and forward Lauri Korpikoski will be back in the lineup following a two-game absence after he took a puck to the face in the morning skate Monday at Madison Square Garden. Forward Paul Bissonnette, who played against Pittsburgh, will return to the press box as a healthy scratch.

"We'll make those adjustments, go back and see if we can play a similar game as we played the other night in Pittsburgh," Tippett said.

The Coyotes felt their game Tuesday was among their best defensive performances of the season. They gave up two goals on 10 shots in the first period, but held the Penguins scoreless on 15 shots over the final 40 minutes. Goalie Thomas Greiss, who is playing for injured No. 1 Mike Smith (lower body), made 23 saves.

Tippett, though, understands why it's news that Ribeiro and Morris will be scratches again. Ribeiro is the Coyotes' fourth-leading scorer with 45 points. He had played in every game until being scratched Tuesday. Morris is fourth on the Coyotes in ice time per game (19:30).

Tippett also doesn't see the value in talking about the players who won't be in the lineup Thursday night.

"We're trying to win, right, so it's less about who's not in and more about who's in," Tippett said. "We're trying to play a certain way, a competitive way, and we've gotta come back with another good effort like we did the other night."

The Devils' lineup was not as clear following the morning skate.

It's possible rookie defenseman Eric Gelinas could play as a forward for the second straight game, but he was wearing a defenseman's black jersey at the morning skate and didn't take line rushes. Gelinas skated on the left wing of the fourth line with Ryan Carter and Michael Ryder in practice Wednesday.

Devils coach Peter DeBoer said he wasn't sure if Gelinas would play as a forward, a defenseman, or at all.

"We're dealing with some things. I haven't decided where," DeBoer said. "I understand the questioning regarding him, but he's a small piece of the puzzle here. We've got a lot bigger issues than where Eric Gelinas is going to play [Thursday]."

Gelinas, who is one of the Devils' top young defensemen, said he didn't have any indication one way or another about his position or place in the lineup Thursday. He played a handful of shifts as a forward in New Jersey's 3-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. DeBoer likes to have him available because of his presence on the point of the power play.

"I have no idea yet," Gelinas said. "I guess I'll be ready for anything. I just want to help out. I want to play at whatever position they tell me to."

DeBoer is turning to goalie Martin Brodeur to start against the Coyotes. Brodeur made 25 saves in a 2-0 loss to the New York Rangers last Saturday.

Greiss will start his second straight game for Phoenix. Tippett said Smith, who injured himself Monday against the Rangers, will be re-evaluated Friday after the Coyotes return home.

"He'll see the doctors [Friday] at home, but it looks like he's feeling alright," Tippett said. "The first few days have been positive."

Here are the projected lineups for the Coyotes and Devils:

COYOTES

Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Brandon McMillan - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Martin Erat - Jeff Halpern - David Moss

Rob Klinkhammer - Kyle Chipchura - Lauri Korpikoski

Keith Yandle - Michael Stone

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Zbynek Michalek

Chris Summers - Connor Murphy

Thomas Greiss

Mark Visentin

Scratched: Mike Ribeiro, Derek Morris, Brandon Gormley, Paul Bissonnette

Injured: Mike Smith (lower body), David Schlemko (lower body)

DEVILS

Dainius Zubrus - Travis Zajac - Jaromir Jagr

Adam Henrique - Patrik Elias - Damien Brunner

Ryane Clowe - Jacob Josefson - Tuomo Ruutu

Eric Gelinas - Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Michael Ryder

Mark Fayne - Andy Greene

Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky

Jon Merrill - Peter Harrold

Martin Brodeur

Cory Schneider

Scratched: Steve Bernier, TBD

Injured: Tim Sestito (upper body), Anton Volchenkov (lower body)

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