The only sign of goalie Mike Smith at Wednesday's practice were the tools he used to recently wage a three-game battle that has salvaged the Coyotes' playoff aspirations.
His pads were stacked at his locker stall in the dressing room at Jobing.com Arena, surrounded by a hulking chest protector and the worn duo of his blocker and glove.
Smith earned an excused absence from practice, taking a break after he turned in his third straight shutout on Tuesday.
With Smith performing at a record-breaking pace, the time off was well-deserved before the Coyotes close out their regular season with a back-to-back set in St. Louis and Minnesota on Friday and Saturday.
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