Phoenix Coyotes: Mike Smith Comes Up Big Again
The Phoenix Coyotes got a second consecutive win on Monday as goaltender Mike Smith pitched his third shutout of the month against the Calgary Flames. The Coyotes (and Smith) are 6-2-1 in February and looking more and more like the playoff team they were last season. Smith keeps coming up big for the team, has lowered his goals against average to 2.55 and improved his record to 6-4-1.
He started the season with back-to-back losses to the Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks as he surrendered four and six goals respectively. An injury sidelined him for the rest of January and since returning, he appears to be in top form. He shut out the Stars on Feb. 2, the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 9 and the Flames on Monday. He made 30 saves against Calgary and got all the offensive help he could ask for as Keith Yandle, Mikkel Boedker, Raffi Torres and Antoine Vermette scored.
Smith has started all nine February games for the Coyotes and thanks to a favorable schedule, he has only been called upon in back-to-back nights once. With four games in the next six days followed by three consecutive games against the Anaheim Ducks, there is a good chance that backup Jason LaBarbera will see at least one start in the near future.
Smith was a workhorse for Phoenix last season and a huge part of their run to the Western Conference Finals. He’s playing like he can get the team back there again this season, so there’s no reason not to start him as much as possible.
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