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‘Yotes Notes: Smith Impressive Again in Win over Sharks

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE – Mike Smith is fast tracking his comeback.

Smith, playing just his second game since core muscle surgery in December, stopped 27 of 28 shots to lead the Coyotes to a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night at Gila River Arena.

In two games back, Smith has turned away all but one of 72 shots he has faced. That’s an astounding .986 save percentage for a goalie who missed 40 games.

Smith is pleased with his progress but is hesitant to get too excited.

“I knew what to expect more going into this game, but there were still some times where it was a little uncomfortable,” said Smith, who began his comeback with a 44-save shutout at the Oilers on Saturday. “I definitely felt better than I did in Edmonton. It's a good sign… It’s a process. I know what to expect now.”

Smith said Coyotes defenders have done a great job of blocking shots and limiting second chances recently.

“The biggest thing is we’re moving the puck really well and that leads to more offensive chances and playing in the offensive zone more,” Smith said.

• Captain Shane Doan scored the game-winning goal from a tricky angle from the right corner with 1:31 left in the third period. The puck somehow got between Sharks goalie Martin Jones and the right post.

“I haven’t scored too many pretty ones this year,” Doan said. “I don’t know how it went in. It went off his leg or something.”

The goal was Doan’s 25th of the season.

“(Jordan) Martinook is adamant that I’ve only scored 10 legit goals this year,” Doan said with a smile. “I don’t really care. They ask how many, not how. It was one of those ugly ones.”

Head Coach Dave Tippett echoed Doan’s comment regarding quantity over quality.

“It’s not how you score them, it’s how many,” Tippett said. “Twenty-five is a huge accomplishment for Shane. If it was that easy to score 25, you would see a lot more guys do it. There are a lot of pucks around the front of the net, and a lot of quick shots at the net. He’s had some bounces this year, but 25 is 25 and you can’t take it away from him.”

• The Coyotes extended their winning streak to three games, one shy of the season high four-game winning streak they put together Jan. 4-12. They’ve also won four in a row on St. Patrick’s Day dating to 2009, and Doan has notched at least one point in all four of those wins.

• Defenseman Michael Stone notched a goal and an assist to record the 13th multi-point game of his career.

• Thursday’s game featured two Coach’s Challenges – one by each team – within a minute in the first period, and a video review of a goal scored by San Jose in the second period.

Here are the official rulings from the NHL:

1. At 12:23 of the first period in the Sharks/Coyotes game, Arizona requested a Coach’s Challenge to review whether San Jose's Dainius Zubrus was off-side prior to his goal.

After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that Zubrus was off-side prior to the goal. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Linesman, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that one or more Players on the attacking team preceded the puck into the attacking zone prior to the goal being scored and that, as a result, the play should have been stopped for an “Off-side” infraction; where this standard is met, the goal will be disallowed.

Therefore the original call is overturned – no goal San Jose Sharks.

2. At 13:23 of the first period in the Sharks/Coyotes game, San Jose requested a Coach’s Challenge to review whether Arizona was off-side prior to Michael Stone’s goal.

After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that the Coyotes entered the attacking zone legally prior to the goal.

Therefore the original call stands – good goal Arizona Coyotes.

Since the Coach’s Challenge did not result in the original call being overturned, the San Jose Sharks forfeit their time-out.

3. At 6:29 of the second period in the Sharks/Coyotes game, video review determined that San Jose's Chris Tierney used a distinct kicking motion to direct the puck into the Arizona net. According to Rule 49.2 "A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who uses a distinct kicking motion to propel the puck into the net." No goal San Jose.

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