Coyotes' Mike Smith leaves with lower-body injury

Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 1:12 AM NHL.com

PHOENIX -- Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith left Wednesday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets midway through the first period with what the team called a lower-body injury.

Smith did not return to the game, a 5-1 Phoenix victory. But the team termed the injury minor and said after the game that Smith will make the trip to San Jose for Thursday's game against the Sharks. He's listed as day-to-day, but the Coyotes will bring up Chad Johnson from Portland of the AHL as an emergency call-up.

Smith, who hurt himself during warmups, left at the 11-minute mark of a scoreless game, skating to the bench on his own during a TV timeout. He was replaced by backup Jason LaBarbera, who finished with 21 saves after Smith stopped the four shots he faced before leaving.

"Lower body. Day-to-day. Not sure where he'll be tomorrow, so we'll have a call-up," coach Dave Tippett said. "The trainers came to me after warmup and said Smitty is a little tight, you might want to keep an eye on him. And 'a little tight' turned into 'can't play.'"

Smith was not available to the media after the game, but LaBarbera said he knew Smith had "done a little something" in warmups and had already started to prepare himself to play in the game when Smith decided he'd had enough.

"I just tried to get myself as ready as possible," LaBarbera said. "I knew he was hurting, so I was watching him and I figured I would play at some point."

Smith had allowed 10 goals in weekend losses to the Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks.

The Coyotes were already without center Martin Hanzal and defenseman Rostislav Klesla, who missed the game with lower-body injuries.

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