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Preview: Coyotes at Sabres

Buffalo hopes to avoid fifth straight loss; forward Teemu Pulkkinen will play first game for Arizona

by Joe Yerdon / Correspondent

COYOTES (22-33-7) at SABRES (26-26-11)



Coyotes team scope

Forward Teemu Pulkkinen will make his debut with the Arizona Coyotes, who acquired him in a trade with the Minnesota Wild on Monday. He will play right wing on the second line with Max Domi and Christian Dvorak. "I've watched him for a long time," 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." Pulkkinen had one goal in nine games this season with the Wild but had 36 points (18 goals, 18 assists) in 47 games with Iowa of the American Hockey League. Forward Radim Vrbata has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in a 10-game point streak, and Domi has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his past 11 games. Arizona has 33 goals in its past 11 games, with Vrbata and Domi big reasons for that success. "They're both smart players that understand the nuances of, not just the game, but the offensive part of the game," Tippett said. "Usually you find players like that that have a niche together." Goaltender Mike Smith will start.


Sabres team scope

The Buffalo Sabres will try to end a four-game losing streak (0-3-1) and gte closer to a playoff berth. The Sabres are six points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Buffalo The Sabres lost 3-2 at Arizona on Sunday after leading 2-0, and had two two-goal leads against the Nashville Predators in a 5-4 overtime loss on Tuesday. "You've got to play 60 minutes in this league," captain Brian Gionta said. "I don't care who you play against and where they are in the standings, you can't let up. We've talked about it the last few days, it's how we continue to push as a team [and] not get away from what makes us successful." coach Dan Bylsma shuffled his lines during the morning skate, moving Tyler Ennis to a line with Ryan O'Reilly and Kyle Okposo. "He needed to get where his game was good and what he can do, and I think recently he has been," Bylsma said. "I think you've seen more from Tyler that we need to see, and as a result he's getting an opportunity with Ryan and Kyle tonight." Goaltender Robin Lehner will start.


Coyotes projected lineup

Brendan Perlini -- Peter Holland -- Radim Vrbata

Max Domi -- Christian Dvorak -- Teemu Pulkkinen

Jamie McGinn -- Jordan Martinook -- Tobias Rieder

Lawson Crouse -- Josh Jooris -- Shane Doan

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Alex Goligoski

Jakob Chychrun -- Connor Murphy

Kevin Connauton -- Luke Schenn

Mike Smith

Louis Domingue

Scratched: Anthony Duclair, Anthony DeAngelo

Injured: Brad Richardson (lower body)


Sabres projected lineup

Tyler Ennis -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Kyle Okposo

Marcus Foligno -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Evander Kane -- Zemgus Girgensons -- Brian Gionta

Matt Moulson -- Evan Rodrigues -- Justin Bailey

Jake McCabe -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Dmitry Kulikov -- Zach Bogosian

Josh Gorges -- Cody Franson

Robin Lehner

Anders Nilsson

Scratched: Justin Falk, Nicolas Deslauriers

Injured: William Carrier (knee), Johan Larsson (wrist)


Status report

Duclair was not yet with the Coyotes on Thursday after he was recalled from Tucson of the AHL on Wednesday, but is en route to join them and may play at the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.


Who's hot

Eichel has eight points (one goal, seven assists) in a seven-game point streak. … Kane has nine points (eight goals, one assist) in his past 10 games.

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