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‘Yotes Notes: Smith Vows to ‘Keep Pushing Forward’

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

Goalie Mike Smith stopped 33 of 35 shots on Sunday night in Arizona’s 3-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center.

It was the second shutout loss for the Coyotes in two days.

San Jose’s first goal deflected off forward Joel Ward in front of the net and sailed past Smith at 18:28 of the first period, and its second goal, credited to Tomas Hertl, went off Coyotes defenseman Connor Murphy’s stick and through Smith’s five-hole at 12:02 of the second period.

“Both goals were kind of pinball goals and were unfortunate bounces for us, but to get those bounces you've got to be doing the same things other teams are doing to us,” said Smith, who suffered his first defeat in three games since returning from core muscle surgery in December. “We’re definitely doing some good things but we’ve got to find ways to win these games."

Joe Pavelski added an empty-net goal late in the third period.

“I feel every game that I've played I've gotten a little bit better and felt a little more comfortable in there,” said Smith, who has stopped 104 of 107 shots since returning. “Coming out of the game, I’m not as sore so I think that’s a good sign. It’s positive to come out of games and not be wincing… For the rest of the season I'll keep pushing forward.”

He added, “After three games I’m pleased with how it’s progressing.”

Head Coach Dave Tippett liked Smith’s performance vs. San Jose.

“Both goals (he allowed) were fluke goals,” Tippett said. “...You can't fault Mike. He was solid.”

• The Coyotes killed a holding penalty called on defenseman Klas Dahlbeck early in the second period to extend their streak of penalty kills to 18. However, the streak ended at 12:02 of the second period when Hertl scored with center Boyd Gordon in the penalty box for holding to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead.

• Center Antoine Vermette played in his 900th NHL game. Vermette logged 15:27 of ice time, took two shots on goal and won 12 of 17 face-offs in the milestone game.

• With the loss, Arizona dropped to 5-8-1 in the second game of back-to-back games this season.

• Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson missed a sixth consecutive game because of an upper-body injury. Ekman-Larsson accompanied the team to San Jose but was scratched. He hasn’t played since March 7 – nearly a span of two weeks. The Coyotes are 3-2-1 without him in the lineup.

• Defenseman Nicklas Grossmann was scratched because of a lower-body injury suffered in Saturday’s game vs. Tampa Bay. He is considered day-to-day. Defenseman Philip Samuelsson, who was recalled from the American Hockey League on an emergency basis on Friday, replaced Grossmann in the lineup.

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