GLENDALE – Coyotes goalie Mike Smith stopped 67 of 69 shots in the first two games of the season and the NHL was watching.
On Monday, the League announced Smith as its Third Star of the Week for the first week of the season.
"It's always nice to get recognized but obviously I'm not getting too far ahead of myself,” Smith said after Monday’s practice. “It's two games. I hope to continue the good play. It’s nice, but more importantly we’ve played better as a team and we’re doing a lot of good things in front of me. It starts there."
Smith and the Coyotes held Los Angeles and Pittsburgh to one goal each in the first two games on back-to-back nights in different cities no less. Arizona will play a similar schedule this week when it plays at Anaheim on Wednesday and then at home against Minnesota on Thursday.
Goaltending Coach Jon Elkin, who is in his first year with the Coyotes, has gone back to Toronto temporarily, leaving Smith and backup Anders Lindback to work on their own this week. It’s all part of the arrangement that brought Elkin, who has coached Smith since the latter was 12 years old, on board with the Coyotes after Sean Burke’s departure.
“Jon was like ‘I got my two wins, I’m outta here,’” Smith joked with reporters on Monday before turning serious. “The good thing with Jon is he watches every single game, no matter if he’s the coach here or not. He has video in his house and he’s always constantly dissecting it and finding areas that we can improve on. That will continue.”
Smith has won the NHL’s No. 3 Star of the Week before. He also has been named the No. 2 Star of the Week and the No. 1 Star of the Week. In 2012, he was named the No. 1 Star of the Month for February.
“I feel comfortable where my game’s at right now,” Smith said. “I’ve just got to continue to improve and get better everyday.”