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At the Rink blog

Aucoin, Vrbata are question marks for Coyotes

Thursday, 03.15.2012 / 2:36 PM

By Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

CALGARY -- The Phoenix Coyotes could be without a pair of important pieces to their playoff puzzle in the second of back-to-back games against the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome Thursday.
 
Both Adrian Aucoin and Radim Vrbata are questionable for the game, an important contest in the Western Conference playoff picture. The Coyotes are currently seventh in the West and hold a three-point advantage over the Flames at 81.
 
Vrbata missed the 5-4 victory over Vancouver Wednesday due to illness and is considered day-to-day by the club.
 
Aucoin did suit up against the Canucks, but did not finish the game, which could pave the way for either Michael Stone or Derek Morris to return to the lineup. Stone was a healthy scratch for the Coyotes, while Morris hasn’t played since Feb. 11 due to personal reasons.
 
Either could play in front of goaltender Mike Smith, who is expected to start against Calgary. Smith has started 13 of the previous 14 games for the Coyotes.
 
Here's the projected lineup for the Coyotes:

Ray Whitney - Antoine Vermette - Gilbert Brule
Raffi Torres - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Lauri Korpikoski
Mikkel Boedker - Marc-Antoine Pouliot - Paul Bissonnette
 
Keith Yandle - David Schlemko
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michal Rozsival
Rostislav Klesla - Michael Stone
 
Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera
 

For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory