LOS ANGELES - Facing the world's best players over 20 minutes of 3-on-3 hockey, Coyotes goalie Mike Smith stopped 11 of 14 shots on Sunday in two outings at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game at the Staples Center.
Playing for the Pacific Division, Smith stopped two of three shots he faced in a 10-3 win over the Central Division in the first of two semifinals. Later, after a two-hour break, Smith stopped nine of 11 shots in a 4-3 loss to the Metropolitan Division in the championship game.
Smith suspected that he and the other goalies would give up many goals against the All-Stars in the 3-on-3 format. He even predicted he might need a hug afterward.
"I don't need a hug," Smith said after the games, with a smile. "It was nice that I didn't get torched. Our guys did a great job in front of me. It was a lot of fun ... It was a long wait between games, so that was kind of weird and different going back in there ... In that first game, I didn't have much work aside from a couple shots. I didn't mind it though."
Smith, making his first NHL All-Star appearance, entered the championship game after its intermission with the Pacific leading 3-2. Despite allowing two goals within a five-second span in the middle of the second 10-minute half, Smith was pleased with his performance.
"It was a pleasure to be here and to play with some of the best players in the world," Smith said. "Like I said, I'm just glad I didn't get a sunburn on the back of my neck."
The Pacific thought it had taken a 4-2 lead at 3:24 of the second half on a shot by Ryan Kesler, but his goal was disallowed after the Metropolitan challenged and video review determined that Connor McDavid was off-side before the goal was scored.
After the game, Smith joked about the call.
"The NHL is trying to get scoring up and they're reviewing calls in the All-Star Game," he said. "It cost us the game."
Video: Mike Smith discusses his All-Star Game experience
The Pacific was looking to repeat as All-Star Game champions but came up short. Members of the Metropolitan team earned the event's $1 million prize.
"Deep down inside our guys wanted to win the game, but it's more about enjoying the weekend and representing the Coyotes and enjoying time with the family," Smith said.
Video: MET@PAC: Smith makes an incredible pair of saves
The highlights of the weekend for Smith were being able to share the experience with members of his family, including his wife, their four kids and his parents, and scoring that remarkable, 188-foot goal in the Skills Competition on Saturday night. He said random strangers approached him as he walked around LA Live after the competition and told him things such as "Nice shot" and "Nice goal."
VIEW: Click here to see a gallery of photos of Mike Smith at the NHL All-Star Game