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Coyotes think Mike Smith could return this weekend

Jan 30, 2013, 6:24 PM EDT

Mike Smith Getty Images

Despite relative unknown Chad Johnson’s shutout of the Nashville Predators on Monday, it’s clear that the Phoenix Coyotes want goalie Mike Smith back on the ice. The big netminder might just be able to return to action from a lower-body injury in the near future, according to the team.

Head coach Dave Tippett was particularly optimistic after seeing him practice Wednesday.

“I’d be surprised if he’s not ready by the weekend,” Tippett said.

The 30-year-old goalie is eligible to be activated from the injured reserve on Friday. Phoenix has back-to-back games against the Dallas Stars on Friday and Saturday, so perhaps he can get in at least one of those contests.

It’s already been a rough start for Smith. He allowed 10 goals in two losses to start the season before getting injured against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 23.

It sounds like the team’s going to ride the hot hand tonight with Johnson, 26, against the Edmonton Oilers. Even with Johnson’s spotless debut, it’s likely that the Coyotes are pulling for a quick comeback for Smith. At the moment, it appears that they might get their wish.

(H/T to Rotoworld)

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