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At the Rink blog

Coyotes may be down two key forwards vs. Avs

Thursday, 03.22.2012 / 5:10 PM

By Jerry Brown - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Coyotes may be down two key forwards vs. Avs
The Coyotes could be without their top two right wingers for tonight's huge game with the Avalanche.
 
Shane Doan is definitely out, serving the first of a three-game suspension for his hit on Dallas' Jamie Benn. And Radim Vrbata, who has missed two games and part of a third with an undisclosed illness, took part in Tuesday's optional skate and Wednesday's morning skate, is still a game-time decision.
 
If Vrbata is a no-go, that's more than 50 goals missing from a Phoenix offense that struggles even in the best of times. Winger Taylor Pyatt and defenseman Adrian Aucoin will also miss this game between the eighth- and ninth-place teams in the Western Conference.
 
The Coyotes are 3-1-3 in their last seven games, but have slipped out of a playoff spot and need a win to stay on the heels of Pacific Division-leading Dallas.
 
Colorado will go without defenseman Erik Johnson (back spasms) for a second straight game with a back injury and rookie Tyson Barrie will again get the call. Ryan O'Reilly, who had his nose broken in Tuesday's overtime win over Calgary, will be in the lineup.
 
These are the projected lineups for tonight's game:
 
COYOTES
Ray Whitney - Antoine Vermette - Lauri Korpikoski
Mikkel Boedker - Martin Hanzal - Gilbert Brule
Raffi Torres - Daymond Langkow - Radim Vrbata
Kyle Chipchura - Boyd Gordon - Paul Bissonnette

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Rostislav Klesla
Michal Roszival - David Schlemko

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera

AVALANCHE

Gabriel Landeskog - Ryan O'Reilly - Steve Downie
Jamie McGinn - Paul Stastny - David Jones
Peter Mueller - Matt Duchene - Milan Hejduk
Cody McLeod - Jay McClement - Mark Olver

Shane O'Brien - Tyson Barrie
Jan Hejda - Ryan O'Byrne
Matt Hunwick - Ryan Wilson

Semyon Varlamov
Jean-Sebastien Giguere
Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie