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Coyotes' Arcobello to get chance against Sharks

by Jerry Brown / NHL.com

SHARKS (28-20-8) at COYOTES (20-28-7)

TV: CSN-CA, FS-A

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes were expected to have a new look to end a disappointing season. But instead of those changes coming at the NHL Trade Deadline, they have hit early due to long-term injuries.

Already without the offensive push of forward Mikkel Boedker (spleen surgery) for what is expected to be the rest of the season, the Coyotes announced center Martin Hanzal will have season-ending back surgery next week in Los Angeles.

Hanzal had back surgery in 2008 and back issues have been a constant since then. He hasn't played more than 65 games in a full season since 2009-10 and back trouble is usually a culprit.

"He's struggled with this all season and it was time to get it fixed up," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said Friday. "I can speak from experience [with back injuries]. When you get fixed up you feel a lot better. He's a real valuable part of our team and he's going to be missed."

That's two top-six forwards gone with the prospect of others, among them Antoine Vermette and Martin Erat, prime candidates to be traded as Arizona retools for the future.

The Coyotes claimed center Marco Arcobello off waivers Wednesday and he will play Friday against the San Jose Sharks, likely on a line with former Edmonton Oilers teammate Sam Gagner. Arcobello started the season in Edmonton and has made stops with the Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Arcobello will become the third NHL player to play on four different teams in one season, joining Dennis O'Brien (Minnesota North Stars, Colorado Rockies, Cleveland Barons and Boston Bruins 1977-78) and Dave McLlwain (Winnipeg Jets, New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs in 1991-92).

"He [Arcobello] is a good, skilled player but he competes hard on the defensive side of the puck," Tippett said. "We like Gagner better on the wing so we'll put those two guys together and see how that goes. He's not the biggest guy but he has the skill to score. I saw a lot of him in Edmonton and I always felt he was a real competitive player."

The Coyotes had to expose a player to waivers to sign Arcobello and forward Brandon McMillan was claimed by the Vancouver Canucks. The Coyotes were surprised to lose McMillan, who had cleared waivers earlier this season.

"It's an opportunity for some other guys," Tippett said. "We have players who want to be full-time NHL players and this is their chance. We have players who want jobs, people who want to keep their jobs … we still have a lot of quality players here and we expect to win."

The Sharks will be without defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who didn't make the trip to Arizona and will miss a fourth straight game because of an upper-body injury.

San Jose has lost three straight games (0-2-1), all on home ice. They allowed 14 goals in those three games.

"I didn't know that stat but that's not very flattering," Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said, according to CSNBayArea.com. "It's on the group. Bottom line, we've got to be better. We've got to cheat on defense a little more than offense, or just make that simpler play. If we can find a way to do that a little bit more often we're going to be all right."

This is a big game for the Sharks, who remain in second place in the Pacific Division with 64 points, one point ahead of the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks and three points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings.

Here are the projected lineups:

SHARKS

Melker Karlsson - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Matt Nieto

Tomas Hertl - Chris Tierney - Tommy Wingels

John Scott - James Sheppard - Barclay Goodrow

Scott Hannan - Brent Burns

Matt Irwin - Matt Tennyson

Brenden Dillon - Mirco Mueller

Antti Niemi

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Tyler Kennedy, Andrew Desjardins, Dylan DeMelo

Injured: Raffi Torres (knee), Mike Brown (right leg), Justin Braun (left hand), Tye McGinn (upper body), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (upper body), Daniil Tarasov (undisclosed)

COYOTES

Tobias Rieder - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Lucas Lessio - Marco Arcobello - Sam Gagner

Lauri Korpikoski - Brendan Shinnimin - Martin Erat

Jordan Martinook - Kyle Chipchura - David Moss

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Zbynek Michalek

Keith Yandle - Michael Stone

Andrew Campbell - Connor Murphy

Mike Smith

Mike McKenna

Scratched: B.J. Crombeen, Brandon Gormley

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

Status report: The Coyotes will get Murphy back tonight after he missed the 2-1 loss against the St. Louis Blues with the flu. … Bolduc is also out Friday with a mid-body injury. The Coyotes recalled Martinook from Portland of the American Hockey League on Thursday and he will play. … Vitale skated Friday and could be ready Saturday against the New York Rangers.

Who's hot: Smith has a .934 save percentage in his past eight games, fourth-best among goalies during that span. … Yandle has nine points, all assists in the past eight games. … Burns has three goals in the past two games. … Couture has two goals and four assists during a four-game point streak.

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