Mike Smith's season has been difficult, to say the least. But if tonight's performance is any indication, there's still some of that magic that carried the Coyotes so far in years past left in the goaltender.
Smith made 39 saves on 42 shots, and Connor Murphy, Martin Erat, and Tobias Rieder all added goals as the Arizona Coyotes fell 4-3 in the shootout to the Philadelphia Flyers. The loss brings the Coyotes' winless streak to seven games.
Arizona looked rested and rejuvenated to start the game. Just 3:33 in, Martin Erat set up a Connor Murphy shot that just barely trickled over the line to give the Coyotes the early 1-0 lead. Not content with merely assisting on goals, Erat tallied one of his own less than two minutes later at 5:50 after putting home a rebound off an Oliver Ekman-Larsson point shot that Flyers goaltender Ray Emery left right between the faceoff dots. That would end Emery's night extremely early, as Craig Berube benched him in favor of Steve Mason.
Philadelphia would tilt the ice back in the Coyotes' direction from that point on. Wayne Simmonds banged home a rebound on the power play at 9:02 in the first, R.J. Umberger scored a goal of his own moments after being robbed by Mike Smith from the far faceoff circle at 13:55 of the second, and Michael Del Zotto went bar down over Smith's shoulder at 18:59 of the second period to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead.
Their lead only lasted 23 seconds though, as Tobias Rieder broke in all alone on Mason thanks to a Shane Doan pass. He also went bar down to tie the game at 3. After a back and forth 3rd period with no scoring, the teams went to the extra frame, and eventually the shootout. No Coyotes scored shootout goals, while Wayne Simmonds potted a gorgeous shot to win the game for Philadelphia.
Three Stars of the Game
- 3rd Star - R.J. Umberger - There's something about the Coyotes that Umberger really likes. He scored the second Philadelphia goal on the night, and he registered a team high five shots on goal.
- 2nd Star - Mike Smith - Mike Smith made some incredibly big saves, especially in the third period, to give the Coyotes a chance to win this game. Ultimately, that's the standard the Coyotes want to hold Smith too.
- 1st Star - Wayne Simmonds - Opened the scoring for Philadelphia, and netted the shootout winner.
- For the Philadelphia perspective, check out Broad Street Hockey.
- Called up for the second time this season from AHL Portland, Andrew Campbell recorded his first NHL point, a secondary assist on the Murphy goal.
- The Coyotes lost the fancy stats battle pretty badly. Brace yourself.
- Only three penalties total called in this game. Arizona was whistled for two, but it was the first one that hurt the most.
- R.J. Umberger has nine goals on the season. Three are against Arizona. I imagine the Coyotes are happy he plays in the Eastern Conference.
Arizona will be back in action Thursday night, when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Puck drop is 5:30 PM Arizona time.