The Phoenix Coyotes chances of making the playoffs are slim at this point, but they might get a boost from the return of goaltender Mike Smith.
The 31-year-old netminder will start on Saturday, according to the Coyotes’ Dave Vest. He sustained an upper-body injury on March 21 when he was charged into by Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler.
You can see the incident below:
A season ago, Smith was a hero in Phoenix, but he has struggled in 2013. In fact, his understudy Jason LaBarbera has posted vastly superior numbers, albeit while playing in just 13 games (eight of them starts).
If the Coyotes are going to defy the odds and make the playoffs, Smith needs to put his pre-injury problems behind him and finish the season on a high note.
Phoenix will play against Colorado tonight and Smith might get a shot at revenge on Monday when the Coyotes take on the Canucks.
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With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
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“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
Blashill says DeKeyser has a bruise, not a break. Will know more tomorrow, but probably day-to-day
The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.
But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.