Jan 9, 2014, 4:58 PM EDT
The Phoenix Coyotes will have their excellent young defenseman, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, back in the lineup tonight when they host Minnesota in a key Western Conference tilt.
Ekman-Larsson missed the last two games after being hit from behind by Columbus’ Derek MacKenzie, who was slapped with a three-game suspension for the check.
“We missed his smarts and puck movement and he will bring some energy. He’s a top player for us,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said, per NHL.com. “It was interesting in practice [Wednesday], it looked like the rest has done him some good. He has a lot of energy and you could tell before the injury that it was down a little bit. We rely on that a lot.”
The Coyotes didn’t especially miss Ekman-Larsson in their last game, a 6-0 win over Calgary on Tuesday. But the Wild contest is a big one, given the race for the final wild-card spot in the West:
The Coyotes have just three wins in their last 11.
- Pressing Question: Can the Blackhawks avoid the Stanley Cup hangover? 3
- Florida wins ’14 NHL draft lottery, will pick first overall 35
- Philly mum on Mason’s availability for Game 1 vs. Rangers 25
- Pressing question: Can the Blues get back on track? 16
- That’s a raise: Flyers sign MacDonald to six-year, $30 million extension 90
- Sabres, Panthers have best odds for 2014 NHL draft lottery 16
- Leafs ‘lack an identity,’ says Leiweke 30
- On the hot seat: McPhee will ‘talk in a couple of days’ 21
- Bruins are 7/2 favorites to win the Stanley Cup; Blues next at 6/1 49
- End of an era: Trotz out as Nashville head coach 40
- That’s a raise: Flyers sign MacDonald to six-year, $30 million extension (90)
- Lightning’s Malone arrested for DUI, cocaine possession (73)
- Update: Daniel Sedin in stable condition, hospitalized after scary hit (58)
- Halak’s agent ‘bewildered’ by Oates’ remarks prior to Blues game (51)
- Here’s the schedule for the first round of the 2014 playoffs (51)