GLENDALE – Two games into the Western Conference Finals, the Coyotes have yet to leave the starting blocks.
After facing 87 shots in the first six periods, Coyotes goalie Mike Smith wondered aloud after a 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 just what his teammates are waiting for.
|Mike Smith |
"We got outcompeted again ... out-battled," said Smith, who allowed the last two goals while the Kings commenced target practice during five-on-three power plays set up by boarding majors to Shane Doan and Martin Hanzal. "In the first period, we played a little better and competed a little harder. But it's not enough. They're a good hockey club. (In) saying that, we haven't played near the way we are capable of playing."
After getting outshot 48-27 in Game 1, the Coyotes managed just 24 shots on Jonathan Quick on Tuesday and, other than a five-minute push at the beginning of the second period, didn't attack the net with any regularity. Smith was under siege most of the night and said that the Phoenix offense wasn't generating enough pressure in the offensive zone.
"If we expect to get 23 shots on a goalie of that caliber and not get anybody in front of the net (and have success), we've got another thing coming," Smith said of Quick. "He's too good of a goalie to not get traffic, not get people in front. They are doing that down at my end, and pucks are finding their way in, hitting guys in front, and we have to penetrate down below their goal line, too."
Noting that there is "no need to hit the panic button," Smith didn’t mince words when it came to his assessment of his team's play in this series.
"I think we have a lot more to give in here," Smith said. "When you get beat and you play well, you can tip your hat to the other team. When you get beat the way we're getting beat right now, that's a lot more frustrating.
|Photo by Getty Images. |
"I don’t know what it is … if we feel like we've accomplished enough by getting here, I don't know. They are a good team. I'm not taking anything away from them. But I don't think we've played near to what we are capable."
Smith reached the Eastern Conference Finals last year with Tampa Bay, but watched most of it from the bench as a backup to Dwayne Roloson. Now, he's in the spotlight and wants all of his teammates to embrace the opportunity they have right now.
"We're here. You never know how many chances you’re going to get to do this," Smith said. "You look at a guy like Doaner, who's played (16 years) and this is his first time in a conference finals. Guys need to look around and know you might not get another shot like this. It's such an honor to play in the playoffs, when you get here you have to make sure you give it everything you have.
"As you get deeper in the playoffs, your expectations raise and the compete level goes up. So far, I don't think our group has upped our compete level to where it needs to be in the conference finals."