The Phoenix Coyotes will try to snap a five-game winless streak when they take on the Detroit Red Wings Monday night. Backup goalie Jason LaBarbera will get the start as Mike Smith continues to recover from an injury he suffered during Thursday night’s loss to Vancouver at Jobing.com Arena.
The injury to Smith occurred when he was charged and hit in the head behind the net by the Canucks’ Alex Edler in the second period. Earlier in the game, Smith also had a collision with Daniel Sedin.
Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said this is a chance for LaBarbera to step up in an important situation.
“He’s (LaBarbera) looked very good in practice the last little bit and the games he’s been in here lately, he’s looked solid. We need him to play very well,” said Tippett after morning skate. “That’s your number two’s role of the team. He’s waited patiently for his time to play and this is it. It’s very big games for us so I’m sure he’s excited to play.”
Tippett also said Smith is still day-to-day and has not participated much since Thursday.
The Coyotes recalled goalie Chad Johnson from the Portland Pirates of the AHL on Saturday. He made two starts for the ‘Yotes this season and recorded his first NHL shutout on January 28th against Nashville, where he recorded 21 saves. He’ll serve as LaBarbera’s backup for the game Monday night.
After Monday’s game, the Coyotes hit the road for an important week with three games in four nights against Minnesota, Nashville and San Jose.