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Coyotes at Sabres Preview

Arizona is playing at Buffalo on Thursday night

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

With the distraction of the NHL trade deadline behind them, the Coyotes will play the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night in the middle game of a three-game trip. The puck drops at 5 p.m. AZ time at the KeyBank Center.

Arizona (22-33-7) battled Buffalo just four days ago in Glendale and rallied for a 3-2 victory.

Mike Smith will start in goal looking to rebound from a poor outing vs. Boston on Tuesday. Smith stopped just 10 of 14 shots vs. the Bruins and was pulled from the game after two periods.

Forward Radim Vrbata will try to extend his point streak to 11 games. His current 10-game streak is the longest in the NHL right now.

The Coyotes recalled forward Anthony Duclair from the American Hockey League on Wednesday. Duclair, who last played for Arizona on Jan. 18, notched one goal and eight assists in 16 AHL games. He did not skate at Thursday's morning skate and is not expected to play vs. Buffalo.

Forward Teemu Pulkkinen will make his debut with the Coyotes after coming to the team via a trade with Minnesota on Monday. Pulkkinen will wear No. 12 and play right wing on a line with center Christian Dvorak and left wing Max Domi.

"I've watched him for a long time," Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "He's a good little player. Good skill, shoots the puck well and can execute on the power play. We'll see." 

Video: Max Domi previews Thursday's game at Sabres

Center Alexander Burmistrov, who was briefly hospitalized after absorbing a hard check vs. Boston on Tuesday, did not practice on Wednesday and will be sidelined for at least a week because of an upper-body injury.

"I talked to him for a while this morning," Tippett said Thursday. "He's doing all right, but he's sore. We'll wait and get him home to see our doctors and go from there."

Video: Dave Tippett previews Thursday's game at Sabres

General Manager John Chayka is expecting the young Coyotes to keep building for next season over the final 20 games of this season.

"(We) should be a competitive group," Chayka said. "... I look at some teams last year that finished strongly, and they kind of carried it through into this season. That's our hope - we finish strong and have a good end."

Buffalo (26-26-11) is looking to end a four-game losing streak (0-3-1), during which it has been outscored 18-10.

The Sabres are six points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 19 games left on their schedule.

Forward Jack Eichel is riding a seven-game point streak and will be looking to carry his solid play in February into March. Eichel produced 16 points (two goals, 14 assists) in 14 games last month.

Forward Evander Kane, who leads Buffalo with 22 goals, has notched eight in his past 10 games.

Goalie Robin Lehner, who did not play vs. Arizona on Sunday, will start on Thursday. Lehner has lost his past three starts and allowed 14 goals in those three defeats.

Video: Peter Holland previews Thursday's game at Sabres

OFFICIAL GAME NOTES

BROADCAST INFO:

TV: FOX Sports Arizona Plus

Radio: ESPN Phoenix 620 AM

COYOTES PROJECTED LINEUP VS. SABRES:

Forwards

Perlini - Holland - Vrbata

Domi - Dvorak - Pulkkinen

McGinn - Martinook - Rieder

Crouse - Jooris - Doan

Defensemen

Ekman-Larsson - Goligoski

Chychrun - Murphy

Connauton - Schenn

Goalies

Smith

Domingue

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