Somewhat lost in the shuffle of Ray Whitney
’s 1,000th point – and Sen. John McCain’s post-game appearance in the dressing room – was another stellar performance by Coyotes goalie Mike Smith
on Saturday night.
Smith quietly upped his shutout streak to 1:59:59 while leading the Coyotes to a 4-0 victory over Anaheim.
The NHL on Monday rewarded Smith for his fine play over the past three games by naming him its No. 3 Star of the Week
Smith already has set season-highs for games played (64), wins (35), and shutouts (seven). He’s clearly embraced his first gig as an NHL starting goalie and is peaking at a key time.
“I’ve always been a guy that wants to play a lot of games and this year I’m getting the opportunity to do that. It feels good to be doing well,” Smith said after Monday’s practice.
|Photo by Getty Images. |
Smith is expected to start in net again on Tuesday when the Coyotes host the Columbus Blue Jackets in the regular-season home finale. Smith will be looking to turn the tables on the Blue Jackets this time around; they’ve scored six goals on Smith in just over 63 minutes of ice time this season.
“They’ve kind of owned us this year as far as wins,” Smith said. “We need to respond and have a great game tomorrow.”
Asked what the team’s mind-set is for the final week of the regular season, Smith said the approach would be very business-like.
“We haven’t really done anything yet,” Smith said. “We still have a lot of work to do. This game (vs. Columbus) is important. Every game is important. It’s going to come down to the last game of the year so tomorrow night is another huge game for our team and we’ve got to keep moving forward.”