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.
- ‘We’re going into the cage,’ says Kings’ coach Sutter about Game 5 0
- Kings stave off elimination, force Game 5 against Sharks 21
- Wild hold off late Avalanche push to even series at 2-2 53
- Bruins scratch out OT win, push Red Wings to brink 42
- WATCH LIVE: San Jose Sharks at L.A. Kings 0
- WATCH LIVE: Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild (Game 4) 5
- Monster of a surprise: Red Wings start Gustavsson over Howard 5
- WATCH LIVE: Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings (Game 4) 2
- Bylsma rips Penguins, calls effort level ‘troubling’ 64
- Cooke: I didn’t intend to collide knee-on-knee with Barrie 99
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) (153)
- Bad luck strikes twice: Lightning goal waved off, Stamkos takes knee to head (137)
- Keith doesn’t remember if he taunted Backes after Seabrook hit (125)
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind (118)
- Wild’s Cooke offered in-person hearing for knee-on-knee collision with Barrie (111)