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Coyotes’ Nick Schmaltz out again for Game 2 vs. Predators

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jack Campbell (36) makes a save on a shot by Arizona Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz (8) as Kings center Anze Kopitar (11) and defenseman Derek Forbort (24) watch during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Arizona Coyotes forward Nick Schmaltz, who missed Game 1 on Sunday just three days after taking a hard hit up high in an exhibition game, will sit again for Game 2 on Tuesday against the Nashville Predators.

The 24-year-old is typically a top-six center for Arizona, and his absence in Game 1 paved the way for a Michael Grabner, Barrett Hayton and Conor Garland line.

The Coyotes kept the same lineup for Tuesday as they had on Sunday.

Schmaltz had 45 points in 2019-20, which led the Coyotes (Taylor Hall had 52 total, some of those with New Jersey).

A skilled puck-handler and offensive facilitator, Schmaltz also frequently found time on the power play this season, but the Coyotes will have to do without him. Arizona was 1-for-6 on the power play on Sunday in a 4-3 win.

Schmaltz took a hit in the head/neck area last Thursday from Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves as the two teams played each other in a lone exhibition game ahead of the Stanley Cup Qualifying Round.

While Schmaltz’s status going forward remains unclear, his absence Tuesday doesn’t portend well for Game 3, which is the second half of a back-to-back on Wednesday.

The Coyotes are currently playing a best-of-five series against Nashville. Heading into Tuesday, Arizona needed two more wins to clinch a series victory and advance to the 16-team Stanley Cup Playoffs. For statistical purposes, though, the qualifying round is considered postseason play.

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