Still no timetable for Smith’s return in Phoenix

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The Phoenix Coyotes have been battling for their playoff lives without the services of franchise goalie Mike Smith — and, according to head coach Dave Tippett, they’re going to need to keep doing it.

“He continues to improve,” Tippett said on Friday, per NHL.com. “But no timetable yet.”

Smith was sidelined with a lower-body injury on Mar. 24 and it’s been Thomas Greiss in goal for Phoenix ever since. Greiss started well but has faltered of late, losing 4-0 to the Kings on Wednesday — the Coyotes’ third loss in a row. As a result, Phoenix heads into tonight’s game against Edmonton tied on points with eighth-place Dallas (85), but out of a wild card spot due to fewer regulation/overtime wins (30, to Dallas’ 34).

The Coyotes have five games remaining in the regular season, and eyes are already on the finale — a home date against the Stars on Apr. 13. The hope for Phoenix would be to have Smith back in goal for that game, which could be a winner-gets-into-the-playoffs scenario, but there’s no guaranteeing Smith will be ready. He’s expected to undergo another evaluation of the injury later this weekend, possibly Sunday, meaning he’d have roughly a week to get back into game shape.