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At the Rink: Coyotes at Blue Jackets

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- Center Brandon Dubinsky will miss two to three weeks with an elbow injury, Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said prior to the game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.

Dubinsky is second on the Blue Jackets with 11 points (four goals) and Tortorella has relied heavily on him since becoming coach Oct. 20. Tortorella previously coached Dubinsky with the New York Rangers.

"He's played really well," Tortorella said. "He's a guy who's got 20-plus minutes during the game in all situations. We're going to miss him but it give other guys opportunities.

"That's the only way you can look at it. You need to look by [Dubinsky] here. We need to focus on the team and other guys have to take his minutes."

Rookie Kerby Rychel, who has played six NHL games, including one this season at the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 17, was called up from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League and will play left wing on the fourth line.

"I know nothing about him," Tortorella said. "I know his name. That's it."

Left wing Nick Foligno will move to center for now with center Alexander Wennberg out with a foot injury. Foligno played there Friday at the Pittsburgh Penguins when Dubinsky was a late scratch before the 2-1 win for the Blue Jackets (5-12-0).

Tortorella also said that goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will make his second straight start and that defenseman Dalton Prout will be a healthy scratch. Prout played on the fourth line Friday because the Blue Jackets were not carrying an extra forward to cover for Dubinsky's absence.

Arizona (9-6-1) is more settled with its lineup as the Coyotes try to win their fourth in a row for the first time since Oct. 26-Nov. 5, 2013.

In the past three games, the Coyotes have allowed the first goal but rallied to win. It's a turnaround from when they went 0-4-1 the first five times they fell behind 1-0.

"It's been a bit of a wakeup call in some of those games," defenseman Connor Murphy said. "But to come back shows some resiliency in those games, the jump and the competitiveness in the guys."

Murphy, from the Columbus suburb of Dublin, Ohio, is playing in Nationwide Arena for the second time with the Coyotes. He said it is less hectic in terms of media attention and getting tickets for those who want to see him play.

"It's always cool to be back to play in front of family and friends," he said. "It's different for the whole team too from last year when we came here. There's a lot of guys with more experience and feeling more confident."

Here are the probable lineups:


Tobias Rieder - Martin Hanzal - Anthony Duclair

Max Domi - Antoine Vermette - Mikkel Boedker

Jordan Martinook - Brad Richardson - Shane Doan

John Scott - Boyd Gordon - Kyle Chipchura

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michael Stone

Klas Dahlbeck - Zbynek Michalek

Stefan Elliott - Connor Murphy

Mike Smith

Anders Lindback

Injured: Joe Vitale (orbital bone), Nicklas Grossmann (lower body), Steve Downie (upper body)

Scratched: Philip Samuelsson


Boone Jenner - Ryan Johansen - Cam Atkinson

Brandon Saad - Nick Foligno - Scott Hartnell

Matt Calvert - William Karlsson - Rene Bourque

Jared Boll - Gregory Campbell - Kerby Rychel

Jack Johnson - David Savard

Fedor Tyutin - Ryan Murray

Kevin Connauton - Cody Goloubef

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Injured: David Clarkson (back), Alexander Wennberg (foot), Brandon Dubinsky (elbow)

Scratched: Dalton Prout

Status report: Grossmann is with the team for the four-game trip. Downie is not. "He'll maybe skate tomorrow, which is a positive sign," coach Dave Tippett said of Grossmann. "Downie is still a few days away so we left him at home." … Bobrovsky will start back-to-back games for the third time this season.

Who's hot: Hartnell has six goals and two assists in his past eight games. … Richardson has a goal and two assists in the past two games. … The Blue Jackets killed all six penalties Friday against Pittsburgh to run their success streak to 10 shorthanded situations. … Ekman-Larsson has tied his career-high point streak of four games (1-3-4).

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