Coyotes hope for return of Hanzal, Vermette vs. Canucks
Getting Martin Hanzal back would give the Arizona Coyotes a lift offensively. It could also provide a spark for Max Domi.
With Hanzal among a trio of players who could return from injury on Friday night, the Coyotes will attempt to bounce back from their worst loss of the season against the struggling Vancouver Canucks. The game can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona Plus, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Hanzal is one of six players with a league-high 10 assists. The veteran center has been a major influence on Domi, Arizona’s star rookie who has four goals and six assists.
With Hanzal sidelined with a lower-body injury on Tuesday night, Domi was a minus-3 while the Coyotes (5-4-1) lost 6-0 at Boston to conclude a 2-2-1 road trip.
In addition to Hanzal’s possible return, the Coyotes are awaiting word on center Antoine Vermette. Defenseman Connor Murphy is expected to be back.
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Vermette has been held without a point in seven games, while Murphy has two in nine.
"Murphy will play for sure," coach Dave Tippett said. "Vermette and Hanzal we’ll re-evaluate in the morning.
"It would be ideal to get them both back, but we’ll see. Neither one we’re going to put into trouble if we think there’s a possibility of injuring things further, but if they can play they’ll play and that would certainly help."
Production from Anthony Duclair would also be helpful. The 20-year-old left wing has a team-leading five goals, but none in the last four games.
The Coyotes fell 3-1 in the most recent home matchup with Vancouver on March 22, ending their four-game winning streak in the series there.
The Canucks (4-2-4) have dropped five of six (1-2-3) after blowing a two-goal, third-period lead to fall 4-3 in overtime at Dallas on Thursday.
Vancouver is 1-0-4 in games ending in overtime or shootouts after going 12-0-5 in such contests last season.
"We were good last year 4-on-4 and in shootout," coach Willie Desjardins said. "We won quite a few games that way. And that’s been a big difference in the games this year."
Former Coyote Radim Vrbata is starting to get going, totaling three goals and one assist in the past four games. The right wing’s 31 goals led the team last season while his 32 assists were a career high.
Vrbata, who had two stints with the Coyotes from 2007-14, had four points in five matchups last season.
Jared McCann is looking to get back on the score sheet after being held without a point by the Stars. The center, the 24th overall pick in the 2014 draft, had two goals in a 5-1 win over Montreal two days earlier, giving him four on the season to put him in the thick of the rookie scoring race with Duclair, Domi and others.
McCann, though, is yet to score through three road games.
Daniel Sedin has six points in his last four matchups with Arizona. He had a pair of assists in Thursday night’s loss to bring his season points total to a team-leading eight.
- Anthony Duclair
- Antoine Vermette
- Arizona Coyotes
- Connor Murphy
- Daniel Sedin
- FOX Sports Arizona
- FOX Sports Arizona - Coyotes
- Jared McCann
- Martin Hanzal
- Max Domi
- Radim Vrbata
- Vancouver Canucks