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Coyotes' Vermette to be game-time decision vs. Kings

by Curtis Zupke / NHL.com

COYOTES (7-6-1) at KINGS (9-5-0)

TV: FS-A, FS-W

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Arizona Coyotes center Antoine Vermette will be a game-time decision when Arizona plays the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Tuesday.

Vermette is recovering from a lower-body injury and Arizona coach Dave Tippett told the Arizona Republic after the Coyotes' morning skate at Staples Center that, "He's got a chance tonight."

Center Dustin Jeffrey replaced Vermette in the Coyotes lineup Monday in a 4-3 in overtime win against the Anaheim Ducks. Goalie Mike Smith is expected to start for the Coyotes. He beat the Kings on Oct. 9 but is 2-6-1 with a 4.33 goals-against average and .860 save percentage in his past nine games.

Kings defenseman Derek Forbort is expected to play for the second straight game. He took line rushes here at Toyota Sports Center with partner Jamie McBain while veteran defenseman Christian Ehrhoff was one of the extras.

Forbort, 23, has waited to get a long look in the NHL and the opportunity isn't lost on him.

"I'm just trying to gain experience, trying to keep improving every game," Forbort said. "I'm trying to be hard to play against and make simple plays."

The 6-foot-4, 212-pound Forbort was taken by the Kings with the 15th pick of the 2010 NHL Draft. He spent three seasons at the University of North Dakota and two full seasons with Manchester of the American Hockey League before he made his NHL debut this season.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter has opted for Forbort ahead of Ehrhoff, who has struggled on the third defensive pairing.

"It's up to me to take advantage of the opportunity and try to [show] that I can play at this level," Forbort said. "I knew it was going to take some time with my development. But the credit goes to [Kings development coach] Mike McConnell and the development staff here for helping me get here."

Here are the projected lineups:

COYOTES

Tobias Rieder - Martin Hanzal - Anthony Duclair

Max Domi - Dustin Jeffrey - Mikkel Boedker

Jordan Martinook - Brad Richardson - Shane Doan

Kyle Chipchura - Boyd Gordon - Steve Downie

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michael Stone

Klas Dahlbeck - Zbynek Michalek

Stefan Elliott - Connor Murphy

Mike Smith

Anders Lindback

Injured: Antoine Vermette (lower body) Joe Vitale (orbital bone), Nicklas Grossman (lower body)

Scratched: Philip Samuelsson, John Scott

KINGS

Milan Lucic - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli

Tanner Pearson - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown

Marian Gaborik - Andy Andreoff - Trevor Lewis

Kyle Clifford - Nick Shore - Jordan Nolan

Brayden McNabb - Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin - Alec Martinez

Derek Forbort - Jamie McBain

Jonathan Quick

Jhonas Enroth

Injured: Matt Greene (upper body), Dwight King (foot)

Scratched: Christian Ehrhoff, Jordan Weal

Status report: If Vermette can play Jeffrey will come out of the lineup. … Downie played four shifts during the final two periods Monday but Tippett said "I think he's OK," according to the Arizona Republic. … Quick was off the ice first.

Who's hot: Domi and Duclair have combined for 13 goals and eight assists through 14 games. … Carter has goals in three straight games. … Kopitar and Brown each have two-game point streaks.

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