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With Hanzal, Vrbata out, Coyotes shuffle lines

by Jerry Brown

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes again will be without two of their top six forwards with Martin Hanzal (upper body) and Radim Vrbata (lower body) back on the ice Thursday, but not ready for a game.

Defenseman Derek Morris, who has missed the past two weeks with an upper-body injury sustained in a Feb. 14 loss to the Nashville Predators, will return to the lineup to partner with Keith Yandle.

With Hanzal and Vrbata out, coach Dave Tippett has continued to juggle his forwards. Shane Doan will start with Matthew Lombardi and Raffi Torres, with Lauri Korpikoski joining Mikkel Boedker and Antoine Vermette. Steve Sullivan was with checkers Boyd Gordon and David Moss, and Paul Bissonnette, riding a career-high three-game point streak, sticks with the clicking line of Kyle Chipchura and Nick Johnson.

Goalie Mike Smith played in all three games of the just-completed road trip and the Coyotes appear ready to give him as many games as he can handle this season. He'll start Thursday for the 16th time in 20 games; the four he missed were due to an injury.

The Coyotes, 18-3-3 in February the past two seasons, have points in 11 of their past 14 games after a 4-2 victory at the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday.

Here are the lineups the Coyotes and Wild likely will use Thursday when they face off at Arena:


Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Lauri Korpikoski

Raffi Torres - Matthew Lombardi - Shane Doan

Steve Sullivan - Boyd Gordon - David Moss

Paul Bissonnette - Kyle Chipchura - Nick Johnson

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris

Zbynek Michalek - Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Michael Stone - Rostislav Klesla

Mike Smith

Jason LaBarbera

Scratched: David Rundblad, Chris Summers

Injured: Martin Hanzal (upper body), David Schlemko (shoulder), Radim Vrbata (lower body)


Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Jason Zucker - Matt Cullen - Devin Setoguchi

Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Mikael Granlund - Dany Heatley

Mike Rupp - Kyle Brodziak - Torrey Mitchell

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Justin Falk - Tom Gilbert

Clayton Stoner - Jared Spurgeon

Niklas Backstrom

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Zenon Konopka, Nate Prosser

Injured: Cal Clutterbuck (thigh contusion), Josh Harding (illness)

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