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Preview: Devils at Coyotes

New Jersey tries to avoid 10th straight loss; Mike Smith to start for Arizona

by Jerry Brown / Correspondent

DEVILS (25-30-12) at COYOTES (23-35-8)



Devils team scope

The New Jersey Devils will be without center Travis Zajac, who flew home Friday to be with his wife for the birth of their third child. "You're not going to expect one guy to step up in that role, but we have to collectively do a good job up front," coach John Hynes said after practice Friday. Defenseman Andy Greene, who missed the past four games following the death of his father, will play. "He's the leader of our team and we all know the important types of minutes that he plays," Hynes said. "It will allow other guys to slot into more favorable minutes so they can play well." Forward Miles Wood, who crashed into the boards during practice Friday and skated off favoring his left arm, is expected to play. New Jersey has lost nine straight games (0-7-2), has been outscored 28-15 during that span, and has been shut out in two of the past three games. Taylor Hall ended a 174:51 scoreless streak on Thursday in a 3-2 in overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Cory Schneider could start in goal. Backup Keith Kinkaid missed the game against Colorado with a knee injury but was able to practice Friday. Hynes said he wanted to see how Kinkaid feels Saturday before making a decision. The Devils have Ken Appleby, who never has played in the NHL, available as the backup.


Coyotes team scope

The Arizona Coyotes will try to avoid a third straight home loss. Forward Alexander Burmistrov and defenseman Kevin Connauton each remain sidelined with an upper-body injury, so coach Dave Tippett will stick with the same lineup he used in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. "We didn't get the result we were looking for, but we did a lot of good things," defenseman Alex Goligoski said. "We could use a few bounces to go our way. We are playing a hardworking team that needs a win so we have to match that." Arizona is 3-for-39 on the power play in its past 13 games and was 0-for-4 against Ottawa. "Power-play goals would give us a big lift," rookie forward Christian Dvorak said. "We improved in the last game moving the puck and now we just have to get one in." Goalie Mike Smith will start. "He's had a good year overall," Tippett said. "He's had a couple of stretches where he would have liked to have been better, but that happens with every goaltender."


Devils projected lineup

Taylor Hall -- Adam Henrique -- Kyle Palmieri

Miles Wood -- Pavel Zacha -- Nick Lappin

Beau Bennett -- Joseph Blandisi -- Devante Smith-Pelly

Kevin Rooney -- Blake Coleman -- Stefan Noesen

Andy Greene -- Ben Lovejoy

Jon Merrill -- Steven Santini

John Moore -- Damon Severson

Cory Schneider

Ken Appleby

Scratched: Dalton Prout, Travis Zajac

Injured: Michael Cammalleri (shoulder), Jacob Josefson (upper body), Keith Kinkaid (knee)

Coyotes projected lineup

Max Domi -- Christian Dvorak -- Radim Vrbata

Brendan Perlini -- Jordan Martinook -- Tobias Rieder

Lawson Crouse -- Josh Jooris -- Shane Doan

Jamie McGinn -- Peter Holland -- Anthony Duclair

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Luke Schenn

Alex Goligoski -- Connor Murphy

Jakob Chychrun -- Anthony DeAngelo

Mike Smith

Louis Domingue

Scratched: Teemu Pulkkinen

Injured: Alexander Burmistrov (upper body), Kevin Connauton (upper body), Brad Richardson (broken leg)


Status report

With Zajac out, Henrique will move between Hall and Palmieri on the top line. Hynes said Friday he might use seven defensemen. ... Neither team skated Saturday. ... Burmistrov was able to skate Friday for the first time on his own but is not close to returning.


Who's hot

Vrbata has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in his past 14 games.

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