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Coyotes could be without defenseman Michalek

by Jerry Brown

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek was unable to take part in the morning skate but coach Dave Tippett is hoping he will be able to play against the Calgary Flames on Saturday .

"If he can find a way to play, he'll play," Tippett said

Michalek took a shot off the lower body in a 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Thursday. With David Schlemko in a walking boot after blocking a shot last week, the Coyotes will play rookie defenseman Brandon Gormley against the Flames if Michalek can't.

The Coyotes will be shorthanded up front. Center Martin Hanzal has missed the past five games with an upper-body injury and will sit out again, although he was on the ice skating in the morning. Left wing Martin Erat will miss a second game with an upper-body injury. Erat was acquired at the NHL Trade Deadline in the hopes he would play on a line with Hanzal, but the Czech countrymen have yet to play together.

The Coyotes got a little help from the Flames, who defeated the Dallas Stars in a shootout Friday. Now the Coyotes hope they can help their own cause as they push for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Entering action Saturday, they were two points behind the Stars for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Dallas has a game in hand but missed a chance to widen its lead over Phoenix when the Flames scored twice in the final eight minutes of regulation Friday to force overtime. Calgary won the game 4-3 with three saves by goalie Joey McDonald in the shootout.

McDonald will sit out Saturday and Joni Ortio will start for the Flames, who are looking for their third straight win.

Goalie Mike Smith will start for Phoenix. In his past 12 starts, Smith has a 1.83 goals-against average and .937 save percentage with two shutouts.

Phoenix has won two games against Calgary at Arena in a series that has been dominated by the home team. The Coyotes have beaten the Flames at home eight times in nine games since Tippett took over as coach in 2009, and they dominated Calgary 6-0 on Jan. 7.

Here are the projected lineups for the Flames and Coyotes:


Mike Cammalleri - Sean Monahan - Joe Colborne

Lance Bouma - Mikael Backlund - Paul Byron

Curtis Glencross - TJ Galiardi - Brian McGrattan

Kevin Westgarth - Corban Knight - Ben Hanowski

TJ Brodie - Mark Giordano

Kris Russell - Chris Butler

Ladislav Smid - Tyler Wotherspoon

Joni Ortio

Joey MacDonald

Scratched: Matt Stajan

Injured: Markus Granlund (upper body), Jiri Hudler (lower body), David Jones (upper body), Karri Ramo (lower body), Dennis Wideman (upper body)


Mikkel BoedkerAntoine VermetteRadim Vrbata

Lauri KorpikoskiAndy MieleDavid Moss

Brandon McMillanMike RibeiroShane Doan

Paul BissonnetteKyle ChipchuraJeff Halpern

Keith YandleDerek Morris

Oliver Ekman-LarssonZbynek Michalek

Chris SummersMichael Stone

Mike Smith

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Rob Klinkhammer, Brandon Gormley

Injured: Martin Erat (upper body), Martin Hanzal (lower body), David Schlemko (lower body)

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