Last season, goaltender Mike Smith put the Phoenix Coyotes on his back and carried the team all the way to the Western Conference Finals. At times this season, he has showcased the same skills that led to 38 wins and eight shutouts during the 2011-12 season, but a lack of offensive support has wasted many of his best performances this season. Back-to-back losses to the Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues have seen the Coyotes score zero goals, while Smith has only surrendered three.
Smith has four wins this month, but has surrendered an average of nearly three goals in each of those games. A look through the Coyotes game log is a study in inconsistency, as March has seen them win two games, lose their next two games, win the following two games and now they have lost two straight. Smith’s moments of brilliance this season have been outnumbered by poor performances, which requires a greater offensive contribution to get points. His 2.78 goals-against average is a far cry from his 2.21 mark last season, and his save percentage has taken a similar hit. With the Coyotes heading into one of the toughest parts of their schedule, Smith needs to find a way to return to form as fast as possible, and the offense needs to start supporting him.
Captain Shane Doan has four goals and six points this month, while Mikkel Boedker had two goals in a win over the Los Angeles Kings last Tuesday and leads the Coyotes with 18 points. Both players have struggled with consistency this season, which seems to be the theme that ties this team together. If the Coyotes hope to return to the playoffs, they need to find a way to put a win streak together in the next two weeks, as many of their upcoming games are against teams they trail in the standings.