GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Boyd Gordon and Jason LaBarbera, two former Phoenix Coyotes players who signed as free agents with the Edmonton Oilers during the summer, return to Arizona Saturday as the Oilers visit for a rare Saturday matinee.
LaBarbera will get the start against his old team. He spent four years backing up Ilya Bryzgalov and Mike Smith in Phoenix, going 22-26-9 in that span. He’s 1-2-0 this year in four appearances.
"It will be interesting to see him on the other side. He's been here for a number of years, so everybody is a good friend with him," forward Radim Vrbata told the Coyotes website Friday. "For those 60 minutes, it doesn't matter. You have to find two points."
The Coyotes lost Gordon when they signed Mike Ribeiro to a long-term deal, but Gordon’s faceoff ability and penalty killing prowess is missed.
"It's exciting. I had a lot of good memories there and a lot of close friendships with guys," Gordon told the Oilers' website Friday when asked about returning to Arizona. "I enjoyed my time there."
The Coyotes will play without defenseman Rostislav Klesla, who suffered a lower-body injury early in a 7-4 road loss against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. The Coyotes had their seven-game points streak snapped (5-0-2) despite rallying from 4-0 down to tie the game in the third period.
Wing Lauri Korpikoski missed the loss to the Kings and is questionable for Saturday. Smith, who was pulled after allowing four goals in the first period in Los Angeles, is expected to start for the 11th time in 12 games.
Here are the projected lineups for the Oilers and Coyotes:
Nail Yakupov - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
David Perron - Mark Arcobello - Ales Hemsky
Ryan Jones - Boyd Gordon - Tyler Pitlick
Ben Eager - Will Acton - Luke Gazdic
Andrew Ference - Nick Schultz
Ladislav Smid - Jeff Petry
Justin Schultz - Anton Belov
Scratched: Denis Grebeshkov
Injured: Jesse Joensuu (back), Ryan Hamilton (knee), Taylor Hall (knee), Sam Gagner (jaw), Corey Potter (back).
Rob Klinkhammer– Antoine Vermette – Shane Doan
Kyle Chipchura– Martin Hanzal – Radim Vrbata
Mikkel Boedker – Mike Ribeiro – David Moss
Brandon Yip – Jeff Halpern – Paul Bissonnette
Zbynek Michalek – Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Keith Yandle – Derek Morris
David Schlemko – Michael Stone
Scratched: Tim Kennedy, David Rundblad
Injured: Lauri Korpikoski (upper body), Rostislav Klesla (lower body).