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‘Yotes Notes: Smith Joins Franchise’s 100 Wins Club

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

Goalie Mike Smith won his 100th game as a member of the Coyotes on Tuesday night as Arizona beat the Los Angeles Kings, 3-2, at the Staples Center.

Playing in his 400th NHL game, Smith stopped 33 of 35 shots, including all 14 he faced in the third period.

“It’s a privilege to play in this league and to have been here as long as I have up to this point I think it’s very humbling,” Smith said of reaching his latest milestones. “I’ve met a lot of good people along the way and obviously this franchise has been tremendous for me. I think there’s a special place in my heart for it, but I’d like to play a lot more. Hopefully I’m not going to stop here.”

The victory was Smith’s second over Los Angeles this season and his 13th vs. the Kings overall. He has beaten no other NHL team that many times.

“He made two or three big saves for us in the first period just to keep us around the game and then a little flurry at the end,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “…He bailed us out when we were in trouble and we kind of hung around the game.”

Only three other goalies in Coyotes/Jets history have posted 100 wins. They are Ilya Bryzgalov (130), Bob Essensa (129) and Nikolai Khabibulin (126).

• Center Martin Hanzal was all smiles after scoring his first goal of the season at 11:37 of the first period.

Hanzal entered the game with zero goals on 26 shots.

“I’m glad I scored the first one,” Hanzal said. “The last goal I scored was in January. It’s been awhile… Hopefully it’s going to go this way now.”

In a strange twist, Hanzal, who leads the team with 13 assists, scored his first of two goals unassisted by stealing a pass attempt by Kings defenseman Brayden McNabb and wristing a shot over the stick of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. It was Hanzal’s first goal since Jan. 29 when he scored vs. Toronto in what turned out to be his final game of the 2014-15 season.

“He’s our most important forward, and the way that he’s playing makes us a much better team,” captain Shane Doan said. “He’s dominating right now, he’s valuable. When we have him in the lineup we’re a tough team to beat.”

• With an assist on Hanzal’s second goal, Oliver Ekman-Larsson tied Ed Jovanovski for eighth place on the franchise's all-time points list for defensemen with 164.

• Doan tied Paul Coffey, one of his idols, for 32nd place on the NHL’s all-time games played list with 1,409 games.

• Center Antoine Vermette returned to the lineup after missing three games because of a lower-body injury. He played 16:37, took a shot on goal, delivered two hits and won 9 of 17 face-offs.

“He got better as the game went on,” Tippett said. “It’s a good first step for him.”

• With wins over the Ducks on Monday and the Kings on Tuesday, the Coyotes swept back-to-back games at Anaheim and Los Angeles for first time in franchise history.

• The Coyotes and Kings will play three more games this season - all at Gila River Arena in Glendale on Dec. 26, Jan. 23 and Feb. 2.

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