Stat Line Of The Night — 4/23/12 — Mike Smith
Mike Smith has been the story for the Phoenix Coyotes over the course of the past couple of months. His 11-0 record between the pipes during the month of February put his team in a great position to contend for top spot in the Pacific Division. His five straight wins to close out the regular season helped the Coyotes clinch that top spot. And his 190 saves through the first five games of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Chicago Blackhawks had his Coyotes one win away from advancing to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in 25 years.
Smith’s performance during Game 6 last night would ensure his Coyotes of that elusive playoffs series win, as he stopped all 39 shots he faced during Phoenix’s 4-0 victory at the United Center. It was Smith’s first ever shutout during an NHL playoff game, and his 241 shots faced and 229 saves during the 2012 NHL playoffs are tops among all goaltenders.
The Coyotes’ victory sets up an interesting goaltending battle in the next round, as Smith will now face-off against Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators. Goals will almost certainly be tougher to come by for the Coyotes during their Western Conference Semi-Final series, but if Mike Smith can continue to perform like he has throughout the past couple of months, they won’t need many goals. Last night the Coyotes scored four, but they only needed one, as Smith earned the shutout and “The Stat Line of the Night” for Monday, April 23, 2012.