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Arizona Coyotes

Updated Apr 11, 2013 - 12:19 pm

Coyotes coach: Mike Smith playing well, will need to keep it up

Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith makes the save on Edmonton Oilers' Jordan Eberle during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, April 10, 2013, in Edmonton, Alberta. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jason Franson)

By most normal standards, Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith is having a pretty solid season, minus injuries of course.

He's won more games than he's lost, he's made saves on 91 percent of the shots he's faced, he's giving up an average of 2.59 goals per game and has produced five shutouts.

Yet, if the playoffs started today Phoenix would be home watching for the first time since 2009, meaning they -- and Smith -- have some work to do over the final eight games of the season.

"The reality of it is he needs to have a real hot streak for us here to give us the extra push we need," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett told Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo Thursday. "And you look at the last three games he's played, he's done that in every game, giving us a chance to win."

Smith returned from his latest injury on April 6 against the Avalanche, and proceeded to stop all 24 shots he faced in the 4-0 win. He gave up just two goals a couple nights later in a loss at Vancouver, but allowed just one goal in a win over Edmonton Wednesday night.

While it's not exactly breaking news, a healthy and effective Smith would go a long way toward the Coyotes reaching the postseason for the fourth consecutive season. And given how the goalie fared last year during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, there's no telling just how far the Coyotes could go.

"He has that experience, he's a real focused guy right now," Tippett said. "He wants to make sure that he's doing everything he can to help us keep this playoff push alive and I look for him to continue playing very well."

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