The 6-foot-4 goaltender has stopped 93 of 95 shots since returning to the lineup against the Colorado Avalanche on April 6 after missing six games with an upper-body injury. He's earned four of a possible six points for a Coyotes club that enters action against the Calgary Flames on Friday night trailing the Detroit Red Wings by two points for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference.
According to coach Dave Tippett, Smith has been the injection the Coyotes needed as they try to close in on the Red Wings.
"We needed a guy that's going to take the ball and run with it," Tippett said. "We had a good week at home where we used three different goaltenders and got three wins, but ultimately if we're going to have a chance to be a playoff team, Smitty has to take that ball and run with it."
The second-year Coyotes keeper is tied for the League lead in shutouts with five and is 13-11-3 this season with a 2.59 goals-against average and .910 save percentage.
"Smitty's a real focused guy right now," Tippett said. "He knows he has to be a very good player for us to be a good team. He's willing to take that responsibility. That's all you can ask for your No. 1 guy. Players in that dressing room look and he's as focused as he is, that's a message that he's sending that he's ready to play that the rest of us better be ready to play."
Tippett is expected to rely on the same lineup -- Smith included -- that was victorious Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers against the Flames.
"We've got a couple guys to monitor coming off the ice who didn't skate yesterday but we're hoping to come back with the same lineup or a similar lineup," Tippett said.
That means Lauri Korpikoski will not suit up for Phoenix. The 26-year-old remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury, meaning the Coyotes are expected to go with a non-traditional 11 forwards, seven defensemen configuration.
Here are the projected lineups when the Coyotes take on the Flames on Friday at Scotiabank Saddledome:
Scratched: Anton Babchuk
Scratched: Paul Bissionnette, Alexandre Bolduc
Injured: Lauri Korpikoski (upper body)