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AP - Sports

Shane Doan is back, but Oliver Ekman-Larsson could be out.

The Phoenix Coyotes are expected to welcome their captain back to the ice Saturday night against the Philadelphia Flyers while potentially dealing with the absence of one of their top defensemen.

Doan was cleared by doctors Friday after a bout with Rocky Mountain Fever sidelined him for almost a month.

"I think my energy level is high," Doan said. "Obviously, it's the first game and with everything kind went on the past month, we'll see how the energy level is. Hopefully, it'll be good, but I'm not worried about that because I've done everything I can to feel good and be ready to go."

Phoenix (20-11-9) is surely thrilled to have its captain back after going 4-3-5 without him, and coach Dave Tippett isn't planning to wait to get him back in the lineup.

"The way he looks out there and he's got the green light from the doctors, I would think that it would be hard to keep him out of the game," he said.

Doan still leads the team with 12 goals, though he shares the top spot with Antoine Vermette.

The Coyotes have missed his production during a 2-3-4 stretch that includes six straight games decided by one goal - two in overtime and one via shootout.

They fell again Thursday, losing 2-0 at home to Columbus, as they were shut out for the first time this season.

"We've been in so many tight games and it's tough to watch when you're in tight games and want to help out," Doan said. "Guys are battling and doing everything they can to find ways to win, and you want to help out."

Ekman-Larsson may not get that opportunity after he suffered an upper-body injury in the first period Thursday on a hit by the Blue Jackets' Derek MacKenzie. No penalty was called on the play, but MacKenzie was suspended three games by the NHL on Friday.

Ekman-Larsson scored the eventual game-winner in a 2-1 win at Philadelphia in the most recent matchup Oct. 11.

This is the first meeting in Phoenix since the Coyotes fell 4-2 on Dec. 3, 2011, after winning five of the previous six,

The Flyers are looking to get back on track after falling 2-1 at Colorado on Thursday, ending their four-game winning streak. That included the first three of this six-game road trip, which ends at New Jersey on Tuesday.

Wayne Simmonds continues to be a force with eight goals and four assists over the past eight games. The right wing had 15 points through the first 33.

Simmonds has four goals and two assists over his past seven visits to the desert.

The Flyers are expected to be without rookie Michael Raffl, who suffered a concussion on a hit from Gabriel Landeskog of the Avalanche in the second period.

"I didn't think it was a penalty," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "He's against the glass, he hit him, it's tough play. I didn't think it was a dirty hit at all."

Claude Giroux has been held without a point for two games after totaling 17 in the previous nine. The captain has two goals and two assists in five career meetings with the Coyotes, scoring the decisive tally in the latest visit to Phoenix.

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