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At the Rink: Hurricanes at Coyotes

by Jerry Brown / NHL.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Without their high scoring forward and hulking center, and already well off the Stanley Cup Playoff pace in the Western Conference, a funny thing happened to the Arizona Coyotes on the back end of their longest road trip of the season.

They started having some fun. And they started winning.

The Coyotes closed a 13-day, eight-game road trip with a 3-1-1 record in the final five games. They did it with Mikkel Boedker and Martin Hanzal out with long-term injuries, and a handful of minor-league players who made strong contributions in wins against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens and Columbus Blue Jackets.

How do they keep it going Thursday against the slumping Carolina Hurricanes?

"Play the same way: As fast as we can and as hard as we can," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said. "Our goaltending has been pretty good and our special teams have been solid. We have lots of young players who are trying hard and now we'll see if we can come home and keep it going. "

Hanzal will be out for at least another week with an upper-body injury, joining Boedker (spleen) and Joe Vitale (upper body) on the injured list. The Coyotes recalled Alexandre Bolduc from the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League to fill Hanzal's spot. Bolduc will join a host of former Pirate teammates including forwards Lucas Lessio and Brendan Shinnimin, defenseman Andrew Campbell and goalie Louis Domingue who are now in Arizona.

The Hurricanes are 0-2-0 on a four-game road trip and failed to hold a 4-2 lead in the third period of a 5-4 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.

Goalie Cam Ward, who has been nursing a lower-body injury and didn't play against the Ducks, will start for the Hurricanes. Ward shut out the Coyotes 3-0 with 25 saves on Nov. 1 at PNC Arena.

Hurricanes coach Bill Peters made a few other changes, scratching forward Riley Nash and defenseman John-Michael Liles. Forward Jeff Skinner, who has gone eight games without a goal and is minus-5 during that span, practiced as an extra Wednesday but was with the starters Thursday. He will skate with Victor Rask and Alexander Semin in an attempt to get him going offensively.

Here are the projected lineups:

HURRICANES

Eric StaalJordan StaalElias Lindholm

Jeff SkinnerVictor RaskAlexander Semin

Nathan GerbeAndrej NestrasilJiri Tlusty

Brad MaloneJay McClementPatrick Dwyer

Andrej SekeraJustin Faulk

Tim GleasonRyan Murphy

Ron HainseyBrett Bellemore

Cam Ward

Anton Khudobin

Injured: None

Scratched: Chris Terry, Riley Nash, John-Michael Liles

COYOTES

Tobias RiederAntoine VermetteShane Doan

Martin EratAlexandre BolducSam Gagner

Lauri KorpikoskiKyle ChipchuraDavid Moss

Lucas LessioBrendan ShinniminB.J. Crombeen

Oliver Ekman-LarssonZbynek Michalek

Keith YandleMichael Stone

Andrew CampbellConnor Murphy

Mike Smith

Louis Domingue

Scratched: Chris Summers, Brandon McMillan

Injured: Mikkel Boedker (spleen), Martin Hanzal (upper body), Joe Vitale (upper body)

Status report: Tippett said Boedker lost about 20 pounds after surgery to remove his spleen. He was back with the Coyotes on Thursday but remains out indefinitely. … Hanzal will be out for at least another week, leaving the Coyotes down two centers with Vitale still more than a week away from returning. Five of the past 10 games between the Coyotes and Hurricanes have resulted in a shutout.

Who's hot: Yandle has six points, all assists, in his past five games and 10 assists in his past nine. Ekman-Larsson has three goals in his past four games and leads all NHL defensemen with 15 goals. He is eight shy of the franchise record of 23 set by Phil Housley as a Winnipeg Jet in 1990-91 and 1991-92. … Malone has scored four goals in the past six games after scoring five goals in the previous 87.

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