Stat Line Of The Night — 4/3/12 — Mike Smith
When the Phoenix Coyotes lost starting goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to the Philadelphia Flyers last summer, many thought it was the end of their playoff hopes. But thanks to the work of Bryzgalov’s replacement, Mike Smith, that no longer appears to be the case, as his impressive performance between the pipes last night has the Coyotes one step closer to clinching a spot in the 2012 NHL post-season.
Smith helped the Coyotes claw back into the playoff picture when he won all 11 of his starts in February, and during a crucial game last night he had what may have been his best performance of the season, as he faced 54 shots (a season-high) and stopped them all. The Coyotes players would score twice, and that was all they needed, as they escaped with the 2-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild.
With the win, Phoenix now finds themselves sitting in seventh in the Western Conference, four points clear of the ninth-place Dallas Stars with only two games remaining. That means just a single point in either of their next two games would assure them of a spot in the playoffs. They have Smith’s brilliance between the pipes to thank, as he has now posted three consecutive shutouts, and his latest earns him “The Stat Line of the Night” for Tuesday, April 3, 2012.