Coyotes notebook: Smith coming up big

BY foxsports • January 17, 2012

Phoenix goalie Mike Smith has allowed two goals or less in each of his last five starts and a total of six goals in those five games.

And while the Coyotes scored six times against Colorado Monday, Smith played an important role with several key saves during a crucial stretch of the game early. With Phoenix leading, 2-1, Smith robbed Paul Stastny twice within seconds -- once by smacking a pad against the post and then with a quick glove when Stastny tried to take his own rebound upstairs. Smith also foiled Peter Muller at the left post on a two-on-one rush in the second period.

"He made two or three really key saves for us and then we were able to push the game along," Tippett said. "We made a couple of mistakes that gave them pretty good chances that Smith really cleaned up."

--The Coyotes have played just seven home games in the last seven weeks, playing back-to-backs at home only once since Thanksgiving. After a prolonged travel schedule that ends Wednesday in Anaheim, the Coyotes will play nine of the next 11 and 21 of their last 35 at home.

"It's nice to have some success here offensively and we're going to have to continue that," Doan said. "This is the last week of this and after that you'll look back and say, 'Wow that was a pretty tough stretch.' But we have four big games this week and the only thing we can concentrate on is winning."

--C Boyd Gordon had one of the biggest offensive games of his career. He collected the first two-goal game of his NHL career and the second goal was also his 100th NHL point. Gordon had only 30 goals in his previous 401 NHL games.

Gordon had a career-high eight shots on goal –- four in the third period when his teammates were setting him up for a possible hat trick –- and he won eight of 15 faceoffs.

--D Chris Summers picked up his first two NHL points, on Monday, assisting on goals by Shane Doan (second period) and Boyd Gordon (third period). Summers was a plus-three for the game, putting him in the black (plus-one) for his NHL career.

--The Coyotes assigned forward Cal O'Reilly to the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League. O'Reilly has two goals and three assists in 27 games this season for the Coyotes and Nashville Predators.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was the way we wanted to start. Coming home off this trip, we didn't get as many points as we would have liked. This was a good sign." -— Phoenix coach Dave Tippett

MEDICAL WATCH

--C Martin Hanzal (upper body) sat out his 11th straight game. He skated a full practice (no contact) on Sunday and could be ready to return to the lineup within a few days.

--D David Schlemko (foot) is out 6-8 weeks after undergoing surgery on his right foot on Thursday.

--D Adrian Aucoin (lower body) is out indefinitely.

--LW Raffi Torres (lower body) sat out Monday's game and is listed day-to-day.


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