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Mike Smith’s jaw-dropping save on Marian Gaborik

Jan 10, 2012, 10:04 PM EDT

Considering the vast jump in Mike Smith‘s performance in Phoenix after flailing away in Tampa Bay – not to mention similar contrasts for Ilya Bryzgalov now that he’s outside the Coyotes cocoon – many probably attribute it all to Dave Tippett’s defensive system. Big picture-wise, that might be partially true (I’ll allow brainy stats bloggers tackle that one), but “Smitty” has his flashes of brilliance. He faced the unenviable task of stopping Marian Gaborik on a penalty shot and only produced one of the best saves of the season:

Sure, the New York Rangers topped the Coyotes in the shootout minutes later to wrap up their fifth consecutive win, but that’s still a beauty.

Here are the full highlights:

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  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:28 AM

    Apparently in the “new NHL” if you look at a player on breakaway the wrong way it’s a penalty shot. I remember a few years ago when NJ was playing the Leafs and Scott Gomez took a tap on the gloves during a breakaway, got a clean shot off, and was still awarded a penalty shot. Just ridiculous.

    • barkar942 - Jan 11, 2012 at 2:57 AM

      But you have to admit- that penalty shot call made for a top 10 save of the year!

    • cruuuzcontrol - Jan 11, 2012 at 9:23 AM

      Dude…. Are you kidding me? Aucoin very clearly slashed/hooked/prevented Gaborik from hitting the crease clean and getting off a shot that had a pretty darn good chance of crossing the line. Gabby was clean to the net by for Aucoin reaching out. Definitely merited a penalty shot.

      That said, what a save. Smith bent backwards and used all he had. Several times during the game Smith looked like he was in pain after making great save after great save. What a player. Definitely worthy of respect as a quality opponent.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:10 PM

        All I’m saying is this wouldn’t have been a penalty shot pre-lockout.

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