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Preview: Sharks at Coyotes

Tomas Hertl of San Jose out with lower-body injury; Tobias Rieder to return for Arizona

by Jerry Brown / Correspondent

SHARKS (9-8-0) at COYOTES (5-9-2)

TV: 8 p.m.; FS-A, CSN-CA, NHL.TV


Sharks team scope

The San Jose Sharks are without center Tomas Hertl, who flew back to the Bay Area on Friday for further testing on a lower-body injury, which appeared to occur in a collision with St. Louis Blues forward Jori Lehtera in the second period of the Sharks' 3-2 loss on Thursday. Hertl appeared to favor his right leg as he skated off the ice and did not return. Forward Melker Karlsson has missed two games with a lower-body injury but hasn't been ruled out for a return Saturday. The Sharks didn't skate Saturday, but coach Peter DeBoer told the San Jose Mercury he would have enough players to dress even in a worst-case scenario, and wouldn't add to the roster for the game. Goaltender Martin Jones is expected to start. Center Joe Thornton has two goals in the first 17 games for the second straight season. Forward Joe Pavelski, who had 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in the first nine games, has one goal and two assists in the past eight. The Sharks have lost two straight games after winning the first three on a season-long, six-game road trip. They are 1-for-17 on the power play in their past six games, but DeBoer isn't panicking. "The analytics of it, as ugly as it looked [Thursday], say that through 17 games we are creating a lot of chances and we're going to score some goals," he told the Mercury News. "I like the look of our second unit. They have been good all year."


Coyotes team scope

Arizona Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said forward Lawson Crouse is dealing with a minor upper-body issue and will be a game-time decision. Arizona will have forward Tobias Rieder back after he missed the 3-2 overtime loss against the Vancouver Canucks with a lower-body injury. The Coyotes have recalled forward Christian Dvorak from Tucson of the American Hockey League to replace Brad Richardson, who had surgery to repair the broken tibia and fibula in his right leg on Friday in Vancouver. He is out indefinitely, but the Coyotes are not ruling out his return this season. The Coyotes are 0-2-2 and have scored six goals in the past four games; they have scored two goals or fewer in five of their past six games. One of Arizona's five wins this season came against the Sharks, a 3-2 victory at home on Nov. 1. Forward Max Domi, who had eight goals in his first 16 games as a rookie, has one through 16 games (12 points) this season. Forward Shane Doan needs one assist to pass Thomas Steen (553) for the franchise record in that category. Doan will play in his 1,483rd NHL game, leaving him one behind Rod Brind'Amour for 20th place on the all-time list. Goaltender Mike Smith will make his second start since returning from a knee injury. He made 22 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames on Wednesday.


Sharks projected lineup

Joel Ward - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Mikkel Boedker - Logan Couture - Joonas Donskoi

Patrick Marleau - Chris Tierney - Kevin Labanc

Micheal Haley - Tommy Wingels - Matt Nieto

Paul Martin - Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon - David Schlemko

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Dylan DeMelo

Injured: Melker Karlsson (ankle), Tomas Hertl (lower body)


Coyotes projected lineup

Max Domi - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Jamie McGinn - Christian Dvorak - Anthony Duclair

Tobias Rieder - Jordan Martinook - Shane Doan 

Lawson Crouse - Laurent Dauphin - Ryan White

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Connor Murphy

Alex Goligoski - Anthony DeAngelo

Jakob Chychrun - Michael Stone

Mike Smith

Louis Domingue                                  

Scratched: Kevin Connauton, Luke Schenn, Dylan Strome

Injured: Brad Richardson (broken leg)


Status report

Dvorak moves between McGinn and Duclair in his return. Martinook replaces Richardson, between Rieder and Doan. If Crouse can't play, the Coyotes likely will go with seven defensemen. Tierney and Burns did not skate on Friday but each is expected to play. If Karlsson can't play, Haley could join Wingels and Nieto on San Jose's fourth line


Who's hot

Smith has 10 wins and four shutouts in 20 career starts against the Sharks. His .943 save percentage is his best against any NHL team. After going 154 games between game-winning goals, Wingels has the game-winner in each of San Jose's past two wins (Nov. 10 at the Florida Panthers, Nov. 12 at the Tampa Bay Lightning). 

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