Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 4/6/13
The Phoenix Coyotes may get a big boost Saturday night as they make a push for the playoffs, as there's a chance goaltender Mike Smith will return when the Coyotes try to extend the league-worst Colorado Avalanche's road skid to 14 games. Phoenix (16-15-6) has 38 points for 11th place in the crowded Western Conference standings, trailing eighth-place St. Louis by four points. Smith has missed the last six games with a head injury but returned to practice Friday and will be a game-time decision Saturday. "Tomorrow morning at skate we'll decide which direction where we're going to go in," coach Dave Tippett said. "If Smitty's ready and thinks he can give us a strong game, that's your No. 1 goalie -- he needs to take that ball and run it right now." Smith went 0-3-1 with a 2.43 goals-against average in his last five starts before being injured March 21 against Vancouver. The Coyotes have stepped up since he's been out, going 3-1-2, but there's no doubt they want their top netminder between the pipes, particularly against the Avalanche. "It's obviously a frustrating time to be out of the lineup," said Smith, who is 5-0-1 with a 1.30 GAA in six career starts against Colorado. "I think this is the time of the year that you want to be part of games, you want to help the team win, help the team get into the playoffs, and obviously it's been frustrating for me to be out this long." The Avalanche (12-20-5) are 0-10-3 during the franchise's longest road slide since a team-record 18-game skid as the Quebec Nordiques from Jan. 18-April 1, 1990. Phoenix is 9-1-1 in its last 11 meetings with Colorado and 8-0-2 in the last 10 matchups at home. Tippett, however, doesn't believe the Avalanche represent a "trap game" for the Coyotes. "There are no trap games now, because everybody still feels like they have a chance at the playoffs, and they're no different," Tippett said. "They'll come in, they'll be desperate." Smith came up big in the teams' lone previous meeting this season with a season-high 41 saves in a 3-2 overtime road win for the Coyotes on Feb. 11. Shane Doan scored his second goal of the contest in the extra period and assisted on the other tally. Colorado comes to town after falling to 2-10-1 in its last 13 overall with Friday's 3-2 overtime loss to Detroit at home. Mark Olver and P.A. Parenteau had the goals for the Avalanche, who have seen five of their last six defeats come by one or two goals. "There were some positives again. We've played some good games lately," Parenteau said. "We're not getting the results." Parenteau and Matt Duchene each have 15 goals to lead the Avalanche, who will have captain Gabriel Landeskog available after he missed the first matchup with a head injury. Coach Joe Sacco said before Friday's contest that he will likely start Semyon Varlamov in net Saturday after using Jean-Sebastien Giguere against the Red Wings. Varlamov has allowed a total of nine goals while losing both of his career starts at Phoenix.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Twitter, Facebook report engagement decline during Super Bowl

Steve Spurrier becomes special assistant to South Carolina AD

Brent Musberger wants you to bet on Joe Lunardi’s bracketology

Unranked Duke uses big first half to beat No.13 Louisville

MLB reportedly close to rule preventing collisions at second base

USOC says athletes concern about Zika shouldn't attend Games

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Von Miller shares support for embattled Johnny Manziel

The Panthers had to use a silent snap count at the Super Bowl

Report: Lakers would fire Byron Scott to hire Luke Walton

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Seahawks’ Frank Clark rips Cam Newton ‘that boy a b—‘

Report: Tom Thibodeau has 'always wanted' Knicks job

Daniel Bryan says goodbye to WWE during teary retirement speech

Paul George delivers great line about driving by Kobe Bryant

WATCH: Oklahoma beats Texas on Buddy Hield's 3-pointer

Andre Drummond hits 70-foot buzzer beater to end 3rd quarter

Duke's Allen appears to intentionally trip Louisville's Spaulding

Candidates for New York Knicks head coaching job

Attorney alleges Johnny Manziel ruptured ex-girlfriend's eardrum

Jeanie Buss may clean house in Lakers’ front office

Lisa Ann wants to reward Emmanuel Sanders for Super Bowl win

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker