Phoenix Coyotes shutout Vancouver Canucks to break losing streak

Christian Petersen

The Phoenix Coyotes defeated the Vancouver Canucks 1-0 on Tuesday night.

Tuesday began as a day of of change and promise.

The promise came from the front office, a pair of trades made earlier in the day, particularly the one that brought forward Martin Erat to the Valley.

The change needed to come on the ice in the form of a victory as the Phoenix Coyotes needed a win on Tuesday night, not only for their playoff hopes, but to validate their general manager's decision to be a trade deadline buyer rather than a seller.

Phoenix faced a team that made a big trade of their own on Tuesday and, like the Coyotes, are struggling to find wins. The Vancouver Canucks came to Glendale losers of nine of their last 10 games and in desperate need of a win to stay in wild card contention.

Strong goaltending by Mike Smith and a solid three period effort from the players in front of him helped the Coyotes snap a four-game losing streak with a 1-0 shutout victory on Tuesday.

"I thought we did some things pretty well. We created a lot of chances. The puck was bouncing so much. I don't know if it was an ice thing or just jitters. It was kind of a sloppy hockey game, but we won and that's all we needed right now," coach Dave Tippett said.

Unlike Sunday, they managed to hold on to an early lead. After blowing a two-goal lead two nights prior, the Coyotes managed to cling to their one-goal lead in the final two periods to walk away with two points.

The main difference between Sunday and Tuesday -- the Coyotes did not sit back but controlled the puck and continued to make an offensive push. Even a disallowed third period goal couldn't throw the Coyotes off their game on this night.

Mike Smith bounced back from his worst period of the season, when he allowed four goals to St. Louis, to shut down the Canucks. He stopped all 23 shots he faced for his 21st victory and third shutout of the season.

"(It was a) good response from him, and again, a tough game where he wasn't getting a lot of chances, but some of those bouncing pucks and long shots coming in from the point, they are a lot harder than they look, so it was a solid game for him," Tippett said.

With the victory, the Coyotes jumped the Canucks and the Winnipeg Jets and moved into 9th place in the Western Conference, one point behind the eighth seeded Dallas Stars.

"It's nice...to beat a team that is right there with us in the standings. We all know how close it is, so it was nice to get off the schneid there and get a win, and do it the right way," Smith said.

Whether the trades or the pressure from Sunday's embarrassing third period sparked the spike in intensity, Phoenix found a way to get their first win in nearly a month after losing four in a row.

"I hope it didn't take that to get the response but I think that when you send that message that we're trying to help the group, that's a positive message," Tippett said. "It's kind of a quirky time of year for players because everybody is wondering what everybody else is doing and then what's happening with us."

Phoenix opened the scoring for the second game in a row on Antoine Vermette's 22nd goal of the season and his sixth against Vancouver this season. He smacked in a loose puck that snuck through goaltender Eddie Lack and ricocheted off the far post and sat on the goal line.

"I just tried to bear down and as hard as I can to push it in," Vermette said.

Vermette continues to be Phoenix's best forward night in and night out.

The Canucks came into the game without their starting goalie after trading Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers earlier in the day. However, Lack is no stranger to starting as he started 21 games this season including all of Vancouver's games since the Olympic break.

Lack made 31 saves on 32 shots in his first game as the No. 1 goaltender.

In addition to the two trades Don Maloney made on game day, he doesn't believe the Coyotes are finished tinkering with their roster with another day to trade at his disposal.

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