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Red-hot Smith carrying Phoenix’s playoff hopes

Apr 12, 2013, 5:19 PM EDT

Mike Smith Getty Images

The Phoenix Coyotes have won four of their last five and, as a result, moved to within two points of eighth in the Western Conference.

And a big part of that has been the play of Mike Smith.

The ‘Yotes netminder has been outstanding since returning from injury on Apr. 6, stopping 93 of the last 95 shots he’s faced.

“Smitty’s a real focused guy right now,” Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett told NHL.com. “He knows he has to be a very good player for us to be a good team. He’s willing to take that responsibility. That’s all you can ask for your No. 1 guy.”

In the last week, Smith recorded a shutout win over Colorado and allowed just one goal in a victory over Edmonton.

And even when he lost, he still played out of his mind.

In a 2-0 defeat to Vancouver on Monday, Smith made 40 saves as his Coyotes were badly outplayed (and out-shot, 41-18). He drew major praise from Canucks captain Henrik Sedin.

“We thought they were going to be ready, so we got a lot of pucks to the net,” Sedin explained. “But Mike, he’s a great goalie. He’s big and he’s great playing the puck, so it’s tough getting to him.”

This latest run has bumped Smith’s overall numbers on the year to 13-11-3, with a .910 save percentage and 2.59 GAA. He’s also tied for the league lead in shutouts, with five.

All of this makes one wonder what he’ll get on the open market, assuming he gets there. Smith’s in the final season of a modest two-year, $4 million deal and should get a significant raise.

But will it be in Phoenix?

Tippett is on record saying Smith’s influence over the team is impressive. You’d have to think he wants his No. 1 goalie to stay.

“Players in that dressing room look [at Smith] and he’s as focused as he is,” Tippett explained. “That’s a message that he’s sending that he’s ready to play, that the rest of us better be ready to play.”

  1. weenerman - Apr 12, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    Dear Coyotes Fans,

    You’re welcome.

    Signed,

    Alex Edler

  2. r4n6er - Apr 12, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    You mean he has been lights out since diving!

    • thenewraoulduke - Apr 12, 2013 at 5:46 PM

      Yes he dove and then sat out of those 6 games because he wanted to work on his tan. Makes tons of sense.

      • weenerman - Apr 12, 2013 at 5:49 PM

        Ya gotta give it to Smith. When he does something, he makes sure that he is 100% committed.

      • bigoldorcafromvan - Apr 12, 2013 at 5:57 PM

        Actually I think it was his pinky that was hurtin from jamming his hand into Daniel Sedins face. After Sedin being pushed into the goal and the play was stopped for about 8 minutes while the training staff looked at his hand. But used the Edler hit as a power play and an excuse. …JMO

      • r4n6er - Apr 12, 2013 at 6:38 PM

        Well he had to make it look real this time because you know…he has faked an injury before to get a call…

  3. thailer35 - Apr 12, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    Keep the hate coming! Yotes are making a playoff push! Watch out Detroit!

  4. csilojohnson - Apr 13, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    Jackets get in over Yotes.

  5. comeonnowguys - Apr 13, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    This is my favorite, I think. He was prone until his trainer came out to tell him that it was his own player that did it, and there was no chance of a Blues penalty.

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