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Coyotes' Moss game-time decision against Jets

by Jerry Brown

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix Coyotes forward David Moss took part in an optional skate Tuesday morning and coach Dave Tippett said Moss will be a game-time decision Tuesday night against the Winnipeg Jets.

Moss sustained an ankle injury against the New Jersey Devils on March 27 and missed the 3-1 loss against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. If Moss can't play, Tippett will likely stick with the same lineup up front and play center Mike Ribeiro, who has been a healthy scratch in two of the past three games.

Goalie Mike Smith skated on Monday for the first time since sustaining a lower-body injury on March 24 and was back on the ice in full equipment Tuesday before the team skate. Smith was able to do some side-to-side drills in the net and Tippett was happy to see his No. 1 goaltender back on the ice. Smith is to be re-evaluated on Friday and his status has not changed.

"He continues to move along like we'd hoped," Tippett said.

The Coyotes lead the Dallas Stars by one point for the second and final wild-card spot in the Western Conference for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Stars hold a game in hand and play against the Washington Capitals on the road Tuesday. The Coyotes had a five-point lead over the Stars five days ago, but the Stars won on Friday and Saturday while the Coyotes were unable to retain a 1-0 third-period lead at home against the Wild.

"It's down to the nitty gritty right now. You can't let points slip away," Tippett said.

Goalie Thomas Greiss, who is 2-1-0 as a starter since taking over for Smith and took a 1-0 lead into the third period against the Wild before allowing two goals, remains in the net for Phoenix. Defenseman Derek Morris, who has been a healthy scratch for the past three games, could make a return against the Jets, according to Tippett.

Winnipeg has lost 11 of its past 14 games to fall out of playoff contention and blew a 4-1 third-period lead against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday before losing 5-4 in overtime. Goalie Ondrej Pavelec will again get the start for the Jets. Despite the collapse Monday night, in which Anaheim outshot the Jets 24-6 in the third, coach Paul Maurice defended his goaltender.

"He played a heck of a game. He made some great saves in the third period," Maurice said following practice on Tuesday. "They had some fine scoring chances, he played well."

Here are the projected lineups for the Jets and Coyotes:


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Michael Frolik

Evander Kane - Eric O'Dell - Matt Halischuk

Dustin Byfuglien - Olli Jokinen - Blake Wheeler

Eric Tangradi - Jim Slater - Anthony Peluso

Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba

Tobias Enstrom - Paul Postma

Adam Pardy - Zach Redmond

Ondrej Pavelec

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Patrice Cormier, Devin Setoguchi

Injured: Zach Bogosian (upper body), Mark Scheifele (knee), James Wright (ankle), Chris Thorburn (ankle), Grant Clitsome (back), Al Montoya (lower body), Keaton Ellerby (lower body)


Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Brandon McMillan - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Lauri Korpikoski - Jeff Halpern - Martin Erat

Rob Klinkhammer - Kyle ChipchuraDavid Moss

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Zbynek Michalek

Keith Yandle - Connor Murphy

Chris Summers - Michael Stone

Thomas Greiss

Mark Visentin

Scratched: Derek Morris, Brandon Gormley, Paul Bissonnette, Mike Ribeiro

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

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