The Phoenix Coyotes absolutely had to win last night’s game at Jobing.com Arena, and Mike Smith literally repelled everything that was thrown his way.
A pair of franchise records were set in the Coyotes’ 2-0 victory in Glendale: Smith’s 54-save shutout marked a Phoenix all-time best, and the 54 shots on goal by the Blue Jackets were the most in franchise history. The shooting barrage was unfortunately in a losing effort for Columbus, which saw its three-game winning streak come to an end against a Coyotes club that stretched its own winning streak to three games.
Smith was the beginning, middle, and end to the story, making save after save as the Coyotes waded into a first period in which the Blue Jackets started with a flurry. They had 12 shots before the period was halfway over and generated several scoring chances on the man advantage, but Smith kept the bottom line intact.
The only source of offense in the game came in a span of 2:03 in the second period. The Coyotes opened the scoring with Boyd Gordon’s eighth goal of the year, which was set up by a cross-ice pass from Lauri Korpikoski in the right circle. That made it a 1-0 lead at 5:45 of the middle frame, and former Blue Jacket forward Gilbert Brule made it 2-0 at 7:48. Columbus had a brief lapse in defensive-zone coverage, and Michal Roszival jumped into the play and spotted Brule alone at the front of the net. Brule tapped the puck through Allen York’s legs to double the lead with his fifth tally of the season.
With only a brief spurt of scoring and tremendous goaltending on both sides, it’s hard to pinpoint one specific moment that turned the tide in the game. But after a first period that tilted the ice in Columbus’ favor, Smith’s 18 saves in the opening 20 minutes were game-changing.
The 54 shots on goal by Columbus has set a franchise record. The previous mark was 53 set Oct. 28, 2005 vs. Minnesota (49 shots in regulation).
LW R.J. Umberger had his three-game goal/points streak come to an end tonight. He had collected 5-1-6 during that stretch.
LW Rick Nash had his five-game point streak snapped. He notched 2-6-8 in those games.
LW Vinny Prospal had a four-game point streak come to an end tonight. He had recorded 2-2-4 during that stretch.
vs. Colorado Avalanche
Pepsi Center | Denver, Colorado
Thursday, 9 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: 97.1 The Fan FM & BlueJackets.com