The Phoenix Coyotes came into the season with sky high expectations. Through two games, they have fallen flat on their faces.
Right in the middle of all of that is Mike Smith. When you look at how many goals a team has allowed, the first spot you look at is typically going to be the crease. And through those two games, Smith has already allowed 10 goals. For a guy who should have been a Vezina Trophy finalist last year, that’s unacceptable.
Against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night, Smith gave up a pair of extremely soft goals and six overall on the night. His frustrations boiled over when he smashed his stick against the goalpost and tossed it a few feet away. This early into the season, you don’t want to see that.
It’s only two games, but the fact that Smith has already allowed so many goals and has a save percentage of just .825 does raise the question of whether or not the Coyotes should be concerned with his performance. At this point, the answer to that question is probably going to be a no.
It’s probably unreasonable to expect Smith to be as dominant as he was last year. For a guy who had a hard time holding on to a starting spot last year, 38 wins and eight shutouts was completely unexpected and is likely the outlier in his career. So him coming back to Earth was, and is a certainty.
There’s also the matter of the defense in front of him playing as poorly as they are. Sure, the blue liners are getting their sticks down and deflecting shots, but they are having major issues clearing or carrying the puck out of the zone and have had circles run around them in their own end. The Hawks probably could have had quite a few more goals than they did on Sunday.
In a 48-game season, everything is going to be magnified. But even in a shortened season, it’s almost impossible to be worried about anything after two games. If he comes out and struggles again for the next few games, then there may be an issue. But given that even a slight regression was possible, there’s no reason to be worried. Yet.