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Coyotes hoping return home means return of offense

by Jerry Brown

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Last Thursday the Coyotes departed Phoenix after a win against the Los Angeles Kings sitting in a playoff spot and scoring goals with regularity.

A week later, they return from a road trip where they went 0-3-1, were shut out three times and scored a total of two goals -- both by Shane Doan in a 3-2 loss at Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Now outside of the top eight and struggling, the Coyotes hope a little home cooking will help as they face the banged-up Vancouver Canucks on Thursday at Arena.

The Coyotes went more than 245 minutes without a goal -- the longest drought in franchise history, and pushing Columbus to a shootout Saturday provided them with their only point on the trip. Even Doan's incredible effort against the Kings -- two goals and an NHL single-game high 13 hits -- could keep Los Angeles from sweeping back-to-back games and keeping the Coyotes desperate for a win.

The return of Radim Vrbata to the lineup Tuesday helped the Coyotes fire 42 shots on goal, but it didn't get the team the result it needed. Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said he felt his team played five good periods out of six against the Kings, but has to find a way to produce offense -- and collect points -- with just 18 games left in the regular season.

Already without a host of players, the Canucks lost forward Zack Kassian with a back injury during a 3-2 win against the Blues on Tuesday. He's doubtful for Thursday, as is forward Chris Higgins, who has a sore back. The Canucks have recalled forward Andrew Gordon from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League and could go with seven defensemen if Tom Sestito (lower body) is unable to go.

Here is how the teams could line up Thursday:


Lauri Korpikoski - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Raffi Torres - Matthew Lombardi - Steve Sullivan

Rob Klinkhammer - Boyd Gordon - Kyle Chipchura

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - David Schlemko

Rostislav Klesla - Michael Stone

Mike Smith

Jason LaBarbera

Scratched: Paul Bissonnette,

Injured: David Moss (lower body), Zbynek Michalek (foot)


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows

Mason Raymond - Andrew Ebbett - Jannik Hansen

Chris Higgins - Jordan Schroeder - Andrew Gordon

Dale Weise - Maxim Lapierre - Steven Pinizzotto

Dan Hamhuis - Jason Garrison

Alexander Edler - Kevin Bieksa

Keith Ballard - Christopher Tanev

Roberto Luongo

Cory Schneider

Scratched: Andrew Alberts, Cam Barker

Injured: David Booth (ankle), Ryan Kesler (foot), Manny Malhotra (eye), Zack Kassian (back), Tom Sestito (lower body)

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