The Phoenix Coyotes knew it was a must-win type of situation against a team that they haven't beaten all season. The Columbus Blue Jackets weren't ready to go down without a fight, putting 54 shots and 30+ scoring chances, but Mike Smith was the proverbial brick wall in goal making saves both spectacular and otherwise. And while the offense wasn't probably where Dave Tippett would have liked it to be, he got enough of a push from the Coyotes in the second period with 2 goals within 2:03 of each other for the 2-0 win.
We could explain the goals a bit more, but they are in the bullet point notes - let's just say it one more time before the jump: MIKESMITHMIKESMITHMIKESMITHMIKESMITH...
Bullet Point Notes From the Game
- It's the battle of 41s in net tonight as Mike Smith will be facing off against Allen York for Columbus. York is on a tear with 3 straight victories against Detroit, Florida and St. Louis.
but being outshot 17-8 and taking two penalties isn’t going to win you many hockey games. [First period summary courtesy of AhwatukeeCoyote]
- Stats after a scoreless first: Shots 17-8 Columbus; Hits 13-6 Coyotes; Faceoffs 15-8 Columbus; Blocked Shots 6-4 Columbus.
- After mostly listless play a nice dump by Taylor Pyatt allows Lauri Korpikoski to retrieve the puck, make 2 or 3 terrific moves and feed Boyd Gordon for a goal into a wide open net. 1-0 Coyotes!!!
- Just a few minutes later a broken up play lets Michal Rozsival make a nice feed to Gilbert Brule right in front and he bangs it home. 2-0 Coyotes!!!!!
- Mike Smith with an absolutely unreal double pad stacker grab with the catching glove...simply amazing save to keep the game 2-0.
- Gordon blocks two shots in succession on a Coyotes penalty kill and struggles to the bench, although I don't think he'll have any permanent damage. Just a great shift there to help kill the penalty.
- Stats through 2 periods: Shots 39-19 Columbus; Hits 23-9 Phoenix; Faceoffs 26-25 Columbus; Blocked Shots 9-8 Columbus.
- It's all Mike Smith tonight as Columbus continues the barrage throughout the third, but Smitty cannot be beat. 2-0 Final!
- Final Stats: Shots 54-22 Columbus; Hits 30-17 Phoenix; Faceoffs 35-31 Columbus; Blocked Shots 16-12 Columbus.
Five For Winning
1. Exact Some Revenge. Columbus has posted its first ever 3 win season against the Coyotes, and it's time to pay them back for the favor; certainly the Coyotes can't afford to be swept by the worst team in the league right now. It was pretty sweet with Mike Smith turning into a brick wall.
2. Clear Out the Front. Columbus scores ugly goals against the Coyotes by using a lot of traffic in front of the net (or by sitting on the goalie). The D needs to step up and keep that slot area clear for Mike Smith to do his job. Can't really say that the D stepped up allowing 54 shots on goal, but it didn't seem to matter tonight.
3. Keep the Special Teams Hot. The Coyotes power play has converted 4 of its past 5 opportunities. Yes, you read that right, 4 of 5. I don't know how really, but the unit is finally clicking and taking advantage of the other teams' mistakes. They need to keep that going. The PK got plenty of work, but the Coyotes lone man advantage was cut short by a hooking penalty on Hanzal. It was not the finest officiating on the ice.
4. Mike Smith, Vezina finalist? Smith is on his second extended run this season without allowing a goal. When the worst team in the league is your next opponent, I see no reason that this streak needs to end on Tuesday. True dat!
5. The Next 1000. Ray Whitney didn't waste much time getting started on his next 1000 points, scoring his 1001st just 40 seconds after his 1000th. The Prime Line is healthy again and has resumed their scoring chemistry that was so prevalent earlier in the season. Let's see them continue this against Columbus. Whitney didn't find the scoresheet, but his line was generating a ton of good chances throughout the game. Secondary scoring took care of the rest.
Our Three Best Players
1. Mike Smith - yay, without question.
2. Lauri Korpikoski - made a phenomenal move to set up the first Coyotes goal; had a few other good opportunities.
3. Boyd Gordon - in a game when you allow 54 shots, scoring a goal and blocking a whole host of shots to boot goes a long way to getting your team the win.
Comment of the Night
For the full Columbus perspective, please check out The Cannon.
The Desert Dogs have only two games remaining and they will be a road back-to-back in St. Louis on Friday night and Minnesota on Saturday. Like Columbus, St. Louis has dominated the season series against the Coyotes, with 3 victories and no points for the Coyotes in the process. Things have been a bit better against the Wild, with the Coyotes going 1-1-1 in the season series to this point.