COYOTES (13-11-1) at SABRES (10-12-3)
TV: FS-A PLUS, MSG-B, BELL TV
BUFFALO -- Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan could return to the lineup Friday against the Buffalo Sabres.
Doan has missed the past five games because of a lower-body injury. The Coyotes are 3-2-0 without Doan, but have lost two straight.
"Anytime you can get a player, a good player, back in your lineup, it helps you," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "Especially your captain, your leader; that would help. But we're not going to put him in there for the sake of putting him in. He's got to be healthy."
The game also will mark the first time Sabres forward Sam Reinhart and Coyotes forwards Max Domi and Anthony Duclair have played against each other since they were linemates helping Canada win the gold medal at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Domi and Duclair are tied for third among NHL rookies with eight goals. Domi is second among rookies with 21 points and Duclair is fifth with 14.
Reinhart, in his first full season with the Sabres, has six goals in 25 games, and recently was moved to the top line, alongside Ryan O'Reilly and Evander Kane. He had his first NHL two-goal game Nov. 28 against the Nashville Predators.
"He's a smart hockey player; one of the smartest hockey players I think I've ever played with," Domi said of Reinhart. "He can slow the game down and he makes the plays that not a lot of other people can make. You've just got to stay physical on him and try and keep the puck so he can't have the puck."
Their first game as opponents in the NHL has special meaning to them.
"It'll be fun, especially at this time of year when World Juniors is coming up again," Reinhart said. "Guys are getting excited for it and obviously it's in your mind a little bit more thinking back to what went down last year."
In addition to the rookie scoring race, Domi leads the Coyotes in points, and Domi and Duclair are tied for second in goals.
"They're young players that make a lot of mistakes," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "So when you put them together there's a lot of mistakes happening. They have a dynamic element about them for sure, but you've got to give them the best chance to be successful. For the most part this year we've surrounded them each with good veteran players that have helped them."
Mike Smith will start in goal for the Coyotes. He started against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday but was pulled after he allowed three goals in the first period of a 5-1 loss.
"He didn’t play enough last night," Tippett said of Smith.
Chad Johnson will start in goal for the Sabres.
Here are the projected lineups:
Tobias Rieder - Martin Hanzal - Anthony Duclair
Max Domi - Antoine Vermette - Mikkel Boedker
Jordan Martinook - Dustin Jeffrey - Steve Downie
Brad Richardson - Boyd Gordon - Kyle Chipchura
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michael Stone
Nicklas Grossmann - Connor Murphy
Klas Dahlbeck - Stefan Elliott
Injured: Joe Vitale (fractured orbital bone), Shane Doan (lower body), Zbynek Michalek (illness)
Scratched: Craig Cunningham, John Scott
Evander Kane - Ryan O'Reilly - Sam Reinhart
Jamie McGinn - Jack Eichel - Brian Gionta
Matt Moulson - Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson
Nicolas Deslauriers - David Legwand - Marcus Foligno
Josh Gorges - Rasmus Ristolainen
Carlo Colaiacovo - Zach Bogosian
Jake McCabe - Cody Franson
Injured: Mike Weber (knee), Tyler Ennis (upper body), Mark Pysyk (lower body), Robin Lehner (ankle), Cody McCormick (blood clot)
Status Update: If Doan plays, Downie could come out of the lineup. Downie returned from a 10-game absence because of an upper-body injury Thursday and Tippett could opt to rest Downie rather than play him in back-to-back games. … The Sabres sent forward Tim Schaller to Rochester of the American Hockey League on Thursday.
Who's Hot: Ekman-Larsson has one goal and one assist in the past two games. … McGinn has one goal and three assists in the past three games. … Kane has two goals and two assists in the past two games. … Moulson has three assists in the past three games. … O'Reilly has one goal and two assists in the past two games.