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Sharks turn to Brown for energy in return vs. Coyotes

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com

COYOTES (23-46-8) at SHARKS (38-30-9)

TV: FS-A, CSN-CA+

SAN JOSE -- Fourth-line forward Mike Brown will return to the lineup for the San Jose Sharks after missing 47 games with a broken right leg and face the Arizona Coyotes at SAP Center on Friday (10 p.m. ET; FS-A, CSN-CA PLUS).

Brown, one of the Sharks' toughest and grittiest players, hasn't played a game since Dec. 9 when he was injured against the Edmonton Oilers. He hopes to energize the Sharks as they continue their late-season push to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"That's the plan," Brown said after San Jose's optional morning skate. "I play an energy style, and I'm going to play physical. I'm not going to think too much or go out of my role. I've got to play the same way I've played my whole career. That's the way I play, and I'm going to go out and keep it simple, get in on the forecheck, be solid in our zone and try to produce offensively if I can."

Brown said he's felt good for a little while, but needed some practice time to get ready for a game.

"Obviously it was a pretty big injury, and we didn't think it was going to be that big in the beginning," Brown said. "Any time when you're off that long you've got to go through the right protocol and the right steps and listen to the trainers. The last little bit here it's been up to the coach, and how I've been in practice and getting ready after being off that long. For me, I feel good right now. I feel ready."

The Sharks' injury-depleted defense will have a new player in the lineup against Arizona. Karl Stollery, who was called up Thursday from Worcester of the American Hockey League, will make his Sharks debut, replacing injured veteran Scott Hannan in the lineup. The Sharks acquired Stollery from the Colorado Avalanche on March 2 for forward Freddie Hamilton in a swap of minor-leaguers.

Stollery played five games earlier this season for Colorado, but now he's adjusting to a new system.

"I guess I'll kind of have to learn on the go here, just getting here now," Stollery said. "But I think the farm team in Worcester has been good, just kind of getting settled into the new organization and getting to know some of the people in it, getting to know the way they play. I think it's similar to how they play in Worcester too. I think that's been helpful, kind of building confidence down there. Hopefully it translates to here."

Stollery had two goals and two assists in 11 games for Worcester.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic, San Jose's top defenseman, will miss his third straight game with a lower-body injury, while injured rookie defenseman Mirco Mueller (left hand) will miss his fourth straight.

After backing up Alex Stalock the past three games while fighting a nasty virus, No. 1 goaltender Antti Niemi will start against Arizona. Stalock, who is also sick, will be in reserve.

Arizona backup goaltender Louis Domingue will make his fourth start of the season and first since March 19 against Colorado when he made 24 saves on 28 shots in a 5-2 loss. No. 1 goaltender Mike Smith will start against San Jose on Saturday at Gila River Arena.

Domingue is 1-1-1 with a 2.64 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.

The Coyotes (23-46-5) have 54 points, fewer than every NHL team except the Buffalo Sabres. They've gone 3-19-1 in their past 23 games and haven't won a game in regulation since Feb. 3 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Sharks have won three of their past four games and, with 85 points, are within five of the Los Angeles Kings for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference.

Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said playing the desperate Sharks will be a good learning experience for the young players.

"It's a great challenge for our group, especially the young players," Tippett said. "It will have lots of intensity. This is like the first round of their playoffs. They're scratching and clawing to stay alive."

Here are the projected lineups:

COYOTES

Tobias Rieder - Mark Arcobello - Shane Doan

Martin Erat - Sam Gagner - David Moss

Tye McGinn - Kyle Chipchura - Jordan Szwarz

Craig Cunningham - Joe Vitale - B.J. Crombeen

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michael Stone

Klas Dahlbeck - Connor Murphy

Brandon Gormley - John Moore

Louis Domingue

Mike Smith

Scratched: Andrew Campbell

Injured: Mikkel Boedker (upper body), Martin Hanzal (upper body), Lauri Korpikoski (upper body)

SHARKS

Melker Karlsson - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Tomas Hertl

Matt Nieto - Chris Tierney - Tommy Wingels

Mike Brown - Ben Smith - Barclay Goodrow

Brenden Dillon - Justin Braun

Karl Stollery - Brent Burns

Matt Irwin - Taylor Fedun

Antti Niemi

Alex Stalock

Scratched: John Scott

Injured: Raffi Torres (knee), Mirco Mueller (left hand), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (lower body), Scott Hannan (head)

Status report: Hannan left San Jose's game Wednesday against the Avalanche in the third period after being cut under his left eye when defenseman Brent Burns hit him with a clearing pass. Hannan missed practice Thursday but skated Friday while wearing a protective cage on his helmet and might return to the lineup Saturday. … Korpikoski skated again but won't play in either game against the Sharks.

Who's hot: Couture has a four-game point streak (3-3-6) and has scored a goal in two straight games. … Burns has five-game point and assist streak (0-6-6). … Arcobello has five points (2-3-5) over his past four games.

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