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Coyotes try to cool off surging Senators

by Jerry Brown / NHL.com

SENATORS (12-5-5) at COYOTES (12-9-1)

TV: CITY, FS-A

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Last season, the Arizona Coyotes didn’t win their 13th game until two days after Christmas. They have a chance to reach that mark two days after Thanksgiving if they can cool off the streaking Ottawa Senators on Saturday at Gila River Arena.

Following a 2-1 overtime win against the Calgary Flames on Friday, the Coyotes have won four of the past five home games and two in the past three nights. They are 5-4-0 on home ice this season; not overly impressive until considering they won 11 of 41 home games in 2014-15.

Goalie Mike Smith has quietly stepped up lately. He is 6-2-0 with a 2.40 goals-against average in November, allowing two goals or less in five of the past six starts. He made 25 saves against the Flames on Friday as the Coyotes killed five of six Calgary power plays.

Head coach Dave Tippett, who won his 500th NHL game against the Flames, said he was unsure if Smith would play for the third time in four days or if he would play backup Anders Lindback.

The Senators have won four straight games, outscoring opponents 19-7 during that stretch.

They have won all four games by multiple goals and have a chance to do that in five straight games for the first time since Jan. 7-16, 2007.

Ottawa has been in Arizona since its 5-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday and practiced at the arena a few hours before the Coyotes and Flames played Friday.

The Senators aren't expected to make any changes. Forward Curtis Lazar overcame a flu bug to practice Friday and will play.

Arizona will be without captain Shane Doan for a third straight game as he works through a nagging lower-body injury. The Coyotes begin a five-game, nine-day road trip against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday and hope Doan will be ready to go.

The Coyotes got one of their seven road wins in Ottawa on Oct. 24, taking a 4-1 win against the Senators thanks to a hat trick by Mikkel Boedker.

Boedker has a point in each of the past five games against Ottawa, with four goals and five assists in those games.

Here are the projected lineups:

SENATORS

Mike Hoffman - Kyle Turris - Bobby Ryan

Shane Prince - Mika Zibanejad - Mark Stone

Milan Michalek - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Alex Chiasson

Curtis Lazar - Zack Smith - Chris Neil

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Jared Cowen - Cody Ceci

Mark Borowiecki - Chris Wideman

Craig Anderson

Chris Driedger

Injured: Andrew Hammond (head), Clarke MacArthur (concussion), Chris Phillips (back), Patrick Wiercioch (upper body)

Scratched: Colin Greening, Michael Kostka

COYOTES

Tobias Rieder - Martin Hanzal - Mikkel Boedker

Max DomiDustin Jeffrey - Anthony Duclair

Brad Richardson - Antoine Vermette - Jordan Martinook

Kyle Chipchura - Boyd GordonCraig Cunningham

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michael Stone

Klas Dahlbeck - Zbynek Michalek

Nicklas Grossmann - Connor Murphy

Mike Smith

Anders Lindback

Injured: Steve Downie (upper body), Joe Vitale (broken orbital bone), Shane Doan (lower body)

Scratched: Stefan Elliott, John Scott

Status report: Wiercioch practiced with his teammates Friday and is getting closer to a return. … The Coyotes hope to have Downie ready for the long Eastern road trip.

Who's hot: Karlsson has an eight-game points streak going, tying a career high. He has five goals and seven assists during that run. … Turris, a former Coyotes player, is tied for the Senators team lead with 11 goals. … Ekman-Larsson now has 19 game-winning goal after scoring in overtime against the Flames, tying Teppo Numminen for the franchise record by a defenseman. … Richardson has four assists in his past three home games.

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