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Coyotes focused on taking care of business

by Jerry Brown

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes continue to get some help from those around them in the Western Conference wild-card race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Sooner or later, though, they're going to have to help themselves.

The Coyotes remain even in points with the Dallas Stars for the final wild-card spot despite collecting one point in the past three games. They return home to face the Edmonton Oilers on Friday with two goal in the past three games and in need of a win, as much for their self-confidence as their place in the standings.

The Stars lost 4-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday and hold a game in hand. Phoenix and Dallas will meet in the final game of the season April 13 here.

"We have to take care of ourselves," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "You watch other scores and everyone knows what's going on, but it's meaningless if you don't take care of your own business. You have to keep your fate in your own hands."

The Coyotes have won all four games against the Oilers this season and are 10-0-2 in the past 12 games against them. Phoenix's last regulation loss to Edmonton came Jan. 25, 2011 here.

Forward David Moss, who has missed the past three games with a lower-body injury, is expected to play. Moss will skate on a line with Brandon McMillan and Mike Ribeiro, a change that will push forward Rob Klinkhammer out of the lineup.

Goalie Mike Smith was on the ice again Friday and took a few shots from Phoenix players for the first time since sustaining a lower-body injury on March 24. But Tippett said a re-evaluation of the injury won't come until later in the weekend.

"He continues to improve. But no timetable yet," Tippett said.

Goalie Thomas Greiss, who played very well in his first four games in place of Smith before struggling in a 4-0 loss against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday, will start Friday. Goalie Ben Scrivens will start for Edmonton.

Here are the projected lineups for the Oilers and Coyotes:


Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

David Perron - Sam Gagner - Anton Lander

Ryan Smyth - Boyd Gordon - Tyler Pitlick

Steven Pinizzotto - Matt Hendricks - Will Acton

Justin Schultz - Oscar Klefbom

Mark Fraser - Anton Belov

Jeff Petry - Martin Marincin

Viktor Fasth

Ben Scrivens

Scratched: Philip Larsen

Injured: Nail Yakupov (ankle), Ryan Jones (knee), Andrew Ference (pectoral), Luke Gazdic (shoulder), Jesse Joensuu (ankle)


Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Lauri Korpikoski - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Brandon McMillan- Mike Ribeiro - David Moss

Kyle ChipchuraJeff Halpern - Martin Erat

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Zbynek Michalek

Keith Yandle - Michael Stone

Chris SummersDerek Morris

Thomas Greiss

Mark Visentin

Scratched: Connor Murphy, Brandon Gormley, Paul Bissonnette, Rob Klinkhammer

Injured: Mike Smith (lower body), David Schlemko (lower body)

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