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Coyotes’ Smith out 8-10 weeks following surgery

Coyotes Blues Hockey

St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk scores past Arizona Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith in third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in St. Louis. (Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP) EDWARDSVILLE INTELLIGENCER OUT; THE ALTON TELEGRAPH OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT


A season that started out with such promise has turned in a bad way for Arizona goalie Mike Smith.

Smith is expected to miss 8-10 weeks after having surgery to repair a “a core muscle injury,” the Coyotes announced today.

You may recall that Smith went 3-0-0 in his first three starts, allowing just two goals on 106 shots. Alas, his save percentage has since fallen to .901, and now he’s facing a lengthy recovery process.

Starting duties will now presumably fall to Anders Lindback, whose numbers haven’t been very good either. The Coyotes also have Louis Domingue on their active roster, but the 23-year-old has yet to see any NHL game action this season.

Arizona’s next game is Thursday versus Columbus.

The good news for the Coyotes -- and they could sure use some, after just one win in their last seven -- is that center Martin Hanzal may be close to returning from his injury.

Related: Coyotes say they’re ‘married’ to struggling Smith