The Phoenix Coyotes lost a nail-biter to the St. Louis Blues Thursday night, falling 2-1 in a shootout.
While the loss wasn’t what he wanted, Coyotes coach Dave Tippett was impressed with goaltender Chad Johnson’s play in place of the injured Mike Smith.
“He was very solid,” Tippett told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns & Gambo. “He’s played four games for us now and our team has played solid in front of him. He just looks composed. He doesn’t do anything really flashy.”
In two April starts, Johnson has saved 63 of the 66 shots he’s faced for a sterling .955 save percentage.
Tippett said with Smith out, Johnson will continue to get the nod as long as he continues to perform like he did Thursday.
“We’ll probably put him in there again tomorrow night,” Tippett said referring their matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night.
Smith, who is out with a lower body injury, practiced Friday but is still not 100 percent according to Tippett.
When he becomes healthy, the coach may have a tough decision if Johnson keeps playing with the hot glove.
“We’ll cross that bridge when it comes,” Tippett said. “The reality is we need 10 points in these five games, so whoever gives us a better chance to win, that’s what we’re going to do.”
The Coyotes are five points out of the final playoff spot, and Tippett says winning out is key in order to make the playoffs.
“You’re going to have to have a little bit of help,” Tippett said. “But the reality is if you don’t take care of yourself, than the help doesn’t matter.”