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Klinkhammer hopes to keep scoring against Carolina

by Jerry Brown

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix Coyotes forward Rob Klinkhammer has a pair of two-goal games in his NHL career, and both are fresh in his mind.

One came Thursday, when Klinkhammer had a career-high three points in Phoenix's 6-3 win against the New York Islanders. The other came Oct. 13 when he scored twice in a win against the Carolina Hurricanes, who visit the Coyotes for a rematch in Arizona on Saturday.

Playing with offensive-minded center Mike Ribeiro, Klinkhammer has set career highs for goals (seven) and points (14), helping to keep the Phoenix offense humming of late while captain Shane Doan misses his fourth straight game with an illness the team is trying to diagnose.

"Anytime your team scores six goals it's great and if you get a couple of points it's even better," said the 27-year-old forward, who played 16 NHL games in stops with the Chicago Blackhawks and Ottawa Senators before finding a home with the Coyotes. "It took me a while to get into my game this season, it wasn't really there. But in the last couple of weeks it's starting to get there and I think I can really help the team at a time when we need it.

"[Doan] does so much for this team. He's our captain, leading scorer, he's having a great year, and no one or two guys can fill his spot. We have to have everyone come together and fill the void."

The Coyotes welcomed defenseman Derek Morris back to the team Saturday. Morris, off to a strong offensive start with 13 points in 21 games, missed the past three games due to a family issue. He needs to get his conditioning up to par and will sit out against Carolina, with rookie Connor Murphy staying with Morris' usual partner, Keith Yandle.

The Hurricanes lost their third straight game Thursday, 2-1 in overtime against the Calgary Flames. Red-hot Jeff Skinner scored the Carolina goal and is red hot with eight of his 11 goals coming in the past eight games.

Here are the projected lineups:


Jeff Skinner - Eric Staal - Tuomo Ruutu

Nathan Gerbe - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm

Jiri Tlusty - Riley Nash - Alexander Semin

Radek Dvorak - Manny Malhotra - Patrick Dwyer

Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk

Jay Harrison - Tim Gleason

Ron Hainsey - Ryan Murphy

Cam Ward

Justin Peters

Scratched: Kevin Westgarth

Injured: Drayson Bowman (ankle), Mike Komisarek (lower body), Brett Bellemore (concussion), Joni Pitkanen (heel), Anton Khudobin (lower body)


Tim Kennedy - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Kyle Chipchura - Antoine Vermette - Mikkel Boedker

Rob Klinkhammer - Mike Ribeiro - David Moss

Paul Bissonnette - Jeff Halpern - Jordan Szwarz

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Zbynek Michalek

Keith Yandle - Connor Murphy

David Schlemko - Michael Stone

Mike Smith

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Gilbert Brule, David Rundblad, Derek Morris

Injured: Shane Doan (illness), Lauri Korpikoski (upper body)

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