How Much Faith do Phoenix Coyotes Have in Mike Smith?

By Devin O'Barr
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Smith was revered as one of the NHL‘s most dominant goalies in 2012 however, he has gotten off to an awful start in what will be a crucial season for the Phoenix Coyotes. 1-3 in 2013, the club is going to have to find the answer between the goalposts before it is too late.

The Coyotes were NHL darlings last season when the team Phoenix entered the postseason red hot and reached the quarterfinals for consecutive seasons for this first time in over ten years. Smith was a big reason for the Coyotes success, as he led all goalies with three postseason shutouts in 16 games.

Coming off a .944 save percentage last spring, Smith has let ten goals go through in 2013 saving at just a 83% clip.

A decision will have to made as the 0-2 Smith will be replaced by 33-year-old Jason LaBarbera, who was Smith’s backup last season,  if he doesn’t improve. LaBerbera may give the team a better chance in 2013 as he gave the Coyotes their lone win versus the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 5-1 victory Wednesday night.

Smith was yanked out of the Blue Jackets game after 11 minutes as the goalie had lower body issues and couldn’t continue between the posts. Smith said he was fine after the game however, in a shortened season injuries will be even more devastating.

Since then the Coyotes have lost to the San Jose Sharks in a game that Smith did not play at all in. It has been yet to decided who will be the goalie for the next game against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

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