Coyotes 3, Stars 0
Take it from Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith: Life is much
easier in the NHL with a little help from your friends.
Smith made 26 saves and the Coyotes clamped down with a team
defensive effort to help Smith get his second shutout of the season
in a 3-0 win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.
”The guys in front of me were great,” said Smith. ”They
cleared the puck all night and let me see the puck. They had my
back and that’s what it takes to win hockey games.”
The win was the first for Phoenix against Dallas this season
after dropping two games in overtime to the Stars.
Smith, who blanked the Sharks in San Jose on Nov. 12, improved
to 11-4-3 this season with his 13th career shutout.
After a 5-0 loss to Vancouver on home ice the night before,
Smith rebounded with a solid effort and needed to stop only 14
shots through the first two periods.
”What I like about Mike is his consistency and how he handles
himself,” said Coyotes coach Dave Tippett. ”That’s why he’s a big
part of what we’re doing now.”
Mikkel Boedker scored in the first, Ray Whitney in the second
and Taylor Pyatt in the final period for the Coyotes, who took 14
of their 22 shots in the opening session.
Phoenix took an early lead when Boedker poked in a loose puck in
the crease for his fourth goal of the season with less than 5
minutes remaining in the opening period.
The goal came against reserve goalie Andrew Raycroft, who
replaced starter Kari Lehtonen about 5:30 into the game. Phoenix
defenseman Derek Morris’s slap shot caught Lehtonen on the right
knee just above the goalie pad. The play was called for an offside
but Morris’ shot came just before the whistle sounded.
After being helped off the ice, Lehtonen immediately went to the
locker room and did not return. Coming into the game, he had a 1.98
goal against average in seven road games.
”We didn’t have it,” said Raycroft. ”Phoenix is tough when
they play hard down low and that’s what happened. They took it to
us but we’ll have to be ready (for Monday’s game at
The Stars also lost both defenseman Trevor Daley and forward
Vernon Fiddler to upper-body injuries. Neither returned.
Early in the middle period, Whitney’s one-timer off a Radim
Vrbata pass just over 6 minutes into the session pushed the Phoenix
lead to 2-0.
Midway through the final period, Pyatt converted a rebound off
Daymond Langkow’s shot for his third goal of the season.
”After the way we played against Vancouver, we needed to come
back,” Langkow said. ”Once you’re in a slide it can snowball, so
we needed to stop it and we rebounded with a strong game.”
Notes: For the third straight game, the Stars were without
captain Brenden Morrow (upper-body injury), who was placed on
injured reserve. . Langkow returned to the Phoenix lineup after
missing eight games due to a death in his family. He picked up two
assists for his first multi-point game of the season. . D Keith
Yandle’s two assists were his sixth multi-point game of the season.
. Against the Coyotes, Dallas began a stretch where its plays seven
of its next nine on the road.