The Phoenix Coyotes are still struggling to score, but they finally have a positive result to build on.
With their longest skid of the season in the past, the Coyotes try to win consecutive games for the first time in more than a month as they host the similarly offensively challenged New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
"It's hard to win in this league and especially lately," said the Olympic-bound Smith, whose first shutout of the season ended an 0-5-2 starting stretch during which he posted a 3.19 goals-against average.
"We did a lot of good things that we can build on, and hopefully got the monkey off our back."
Trying to win back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 10-12, the Coyotes need to generate more offense after being held to one goal for a third straight contest. It's the second such stretch for Phoenix this season.
The Coyotes averaged 3.2 non-shootout goals in winning 18 of their first 31 games, but 2.1 while losing 12 of the last 16.
They have managed to score a power-play goal in six straight contests and enjoyed some good fortune Thursday when Vermette's shot from a tough angle glanced off a Canucks defender and in.
"We will take any win," Vermette told the NHL's official website after scoring his 13th goal of the season and first in 12 games. "But the way that game came up for us - with Smitty getting a huge win and battling through adversity - I think it's a good sign.
"That's the kind of game we want to play."
Phoenix had allowed a power-play goal in four straight contests before killing off seven Vancouver chances.
"January has been a tough month so far, and it's important in the second half to turn (on) the gas," Smith said. "We've been searching for one like this."
The Coyotes last faced New Jersey (20-18-11) on Oct. 27, 2011, winning 5-3 for their third straight home victory in the series.
The Devils fell to 1-0-2 on a four-game trip with a 2-1 shootout loss to Colorado on Thursday. They have been held to two or fewer goals 10 times while losing seven of 12, though they're 3-0-3 in their last six contests.
Reid Boucher tied the game in the third period, but Cory Schneider allowed two goals in the tiebreaker as New Jersey dropped its 12th consecutive shootout.
"When you're not getting wins from (shootouts) and you're leaving points on the table, it matters," said Schneider, who's been in net for five of the Devils' eight shootout losses this season.
New Jersey's Jaromir Jagr has one goal in the last 12 games, but he has five and seven assists in nine career games at Phoenix.