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Coyotes vs. Sabres Preview

Arizona is hosting Buffalo in a rare Sunday night game

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

GLENDALE -- The Coyotes will look to emerge from a mini-slump on Sunday when they host the Buffalo Sabres. The puck drops at 6:30 p.m. AZ time at Gila River Arena.

Arizona (21-32-7) lost back-to-back road games at Chicago and Dallas to close last week, and was outscored, 11-5, in those games.

This will be Arizona's final home game before the NHL trade deadline on Wednesday. 

Goalie Mike Smith has recovered from illness that kept him from dressing for Friday's game at Dallas, and the Coyotes have assigned goalie Adin Hill back to the American Hockey League. Smith will serve as backup to Louis Domingue vs. the Sabres. Domingue is seeking his first win since Jan. 7; he's lost four starts in a row.

Video: Louis Domingue previews Sunday's game vs. Sabres

"It's a very good opportunity for him," Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "He's been looking to play more minutes, and we're hoping he can play better. So it's a good opportunity for him to get back in there."

Video: Dave Tippett previews Sunday's game vs. Sabres

Forward Radim Vrbata will enter the game with a career-high eight-game point streak and a three-game goal-scoring streak.

Center Martin Hanzal, who needs one goal to set a career-high for goals scored in one season, is expected to play in his 609th game with the Coyotes. That will tie him with Zbynek Michalek for second place on the Coyotes games-played list. Captain Shane Doan tops that list with 1,452 games played in the desert.

Forward Jamie McGinn, who played 63 games for Buffalo last season, needs one goal to reach 100 for his NHL career.

Video: Jamie McGinn previews Sunday's game vs. Sabres

The Coyotes will play minus center Alexander Burmistrov who suffered an upper-body injury during Friday's game at Dallas. Burmistrov took part in Sunday's morning skate and is considered day-to-day.

Buffalo (26-24-10), which owns a six-game winning streak vs. the Coyotes in Glendale, played at Colorado on Saturday night and lost, 5-3, in its first game back after its NHL-mandated "bye week."

The Sabres are six points behind Boston, which currently holds the second wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

"We have 21 (games) left now," Head Coach Dan Bylsma told the team's web site after Saturday's loss. "We know we have to win 15 of them to get back in this thing, to get to a mark where we may be able to get in the playoffs."

Forward Evander Kane leads Buffalo with 21 goals. He has scored seven of those goals in February.

Forward Jack Eichel missed the first 21 games of the season due to injury, but he has produced 34 points in 40 games since returning. 

Goalie Robin Lehner, who has won a career-high 17 games this season, made 25 saves in the loss at Colorado. He could play again on back-to-back nights considering the Sabres are fresh off their "bye week."

OFFICIAL GAME NOTES 

BROADCAST INFO:

TV: FOX Sports Arizona

Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM

COYOTES PROJECTED LINEUP VS. SABRES:

Forwards

Domi - Hanzal - Vrbata

Perlini - Dvorak - Doan

McGinn - Holland - Rieder

Crouse - Martinook - White

Defensemen

Ekman-Larsson - Murphy

Goligoski - DeAngelo

Chychrun - Schenn

Goalies

Domingue

Smith

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