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Mike Smith earns shutout as Arizona Coyotes defeat Vancouver Canucks

A big night for Smith and the Coyotes heading into the All-Star Break.

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Arizona Coyotes
Rock-a-bye, baby, on the tree top...
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes sent Mike Smith off to the 2017 NHL All-Star Game in style.

Arizona held the visiting Vancouver Canucks without a shot for almost half of the game to help Mike Smith earn his first shutout of the season, as the Coyotes defeated the Canucks 3-0 at Gila River Arena on Thursday night. The win was Arizona’s third in a row.

Scoring Summary

First Period

The Coyotes managed to hold the Canucks to zero shots on goal in the first, while the Coyotes took seven. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the teams went into the intermission scoreless.

Second Period

1-0 Arizona - The Coyotes broke through first in the latter half of the second period on a deflection in front of the net. Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s point shot bounced off the skate of a Vancouver player in front and into the skates of Lawson Crouse. Crouse quickly collected the puck and used his long reach the wrap the puck around the net, off of Ryan Miller’s outstretched leg, and in. Assists to Ryan White and Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the goal at 12:56.

Third Period

2-0 Arizona - After a high-sticking double-minor, the Coyotes get a much needed insurance goal on Alexander Burmistrov’s first goal as a Coyote. Radim Vrbata streaked in front of the net, drawing away the Canucks penalty killers with a backhand shot up close. An aborted clearing attempt made its way to an unmarked Burmistrov, who had a wide open net to score on. No assists on the power play goal at 4:29.

3-0 Arizona - Tobias Rieder sealed the deal for the Coyotes with an empty-net goal late in the third. Radim Vrbata grabbed the puck in the neutral zone after a Canucks defender missed a shot at the point. Vrbata lifted the puck into an empty corner of the Canucks zone, where Rieder could easily grab it and take an easy shot into the net. Assists to Vrbata and Martin Hanzal on the empty-net goal at 19:26.

Three Answers

1. Will Christian Fischer score again? - Fischer wasn’t able to light the lamp this time around. He and Jordan Martinook were the only two Coyotes’ forwards to go without a shot on goal in this game.

2. Will the Coyotes finally beat Ryan Miller? - It took the Coyotes a while, but their persistence eventually paid off against a Canucks team that spent much of this game on their heels.

3. Will the Canucks find road success tonight? - Going nearly half the game without a shot on goal is not a recipe for success, but even so the Canucks managed to hang around for most of this game.

Players of the Game

Vancouver - Ryan Miller - Miller certainly wasn’t getting any help from his offense, but two goals allowed on 30 shots is a pretty solid night for any goaltender.

Arizona - Oliver Ekman-Larsson - OEL had an all around excellent game. He assisted on Crouse’s goal, took two shots, and finished +8 in shot attempt differential on the night.

Paw Prints

  • For more on the Vancouver Canucks, check out Nucks Misconduct
  • Peter Holland took a seat tonight alongside Josh Jooris and Kevin Connauton, while Tobias Rieder was officially listed as a center for tonight’s game.
  • Surprisingly, holding the opposing team to no shots in a period is not even a new record for the Coyotes:
  • The Coyotes held the Canucks to zero shots on goal for 28:12 to begin the game.
  • Vancouver took 12 shots in an 11:48 stretch of the second period. In the rest of the game, they took just seven shots.
  • Tobias Rieder’s empty net goal was the first the Coyotes have scored this season, and the Coyotes’ current three game winning streak is their longest this season.

Looking Ahead

With the exception of Mike Smith, the Coyotes get some time off during the NHL All-Star Break. Arizona does not return to action until Tuesday, January 31st, when they play the Los Angeles Kings at Gila River Arena. Puck drop is at 7 PM.