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'Yotes Notes: Work with Burke Paying off for Smith

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE – For those seeking a silver lining to Tuesday's loss to Dallas, Coyotes goalie Mike Smith turned in a second consecutive solid performance.

Photo by Norm Hall

Smith stopped 37 of 39 shots he faced and kept Phoenix in the game with multiple key saves as the Stars out-shot the Coyotes 40-28. Dallas scored an empty-net goal and won 3-1. On Saturday, Smith stopped 23 of 24 shots in a 3-1 win over Pittsburgh.

General Manager Don Maloney on Wednesday praised Smith for his performance against the Stars, telling the team's flagship radio station (Arizona Sports 98.7 FM) that "the only reason we were in the game was his play... He was terrific. He was exactly what we need and what we're going to need for the next couple of months. He was on the puck, his rebounds were terrific, his glove was working, so if we see that over the next couple of months we'll be just fine."

Before starting Saturday's game, Smith spent some quality time working with Goaltending Coach Sean Burke on the details of his craft while backup goalie Thomas Greiss started two games in a row in his place.

"It was frustrating not playing, but Greiss deserved to play," Smith said. "He's played well for us this year. He deserves the opportunity to play... Saying that, I got a lot (of work) in with Sean in those three or four days, work that you don't get in when you're playing because you're trying to save your energy. When you're playing a lot, you don't want to expend that energy in practice."

He added, "It was nice to be able to know I wasn't going to be playing in those two games, so I could kind of bag myself on the ice and get back to basics."

NOTE: Click here to listen to Maloney's full interview on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM

Center Antoine Vermette scored an unassisted goal on Tuesday to extend his point streak to eight games. That’s a career-high for Vermette and it matches captain Shane Doan for the longest point streak of the season for the Coyotes. It’s also the longest point streak in the League at this time.

Prospects Max Domi and Brendan Burke have been recognized for outstanding play by the Ontario Hockey League and the Canadian Hockey League, respectively.

Domi, whom the Coyotes selected with the 12th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, was named the OHL’s Player of the Week for the week ending Feb. 2 after notching six points in three games for the London Knights.

Domi earned the award for the second time this season after helping the Knights extend their winning streak to five games.

Burke, whom the Coyotes selected with the 163rd overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, was named the CHL’s Goaltender of the Week for the week ending Feb. 2 after posting two shutout victories in as many starts.

Burke, the son of Coyotes Goaltending Coach Sean Burke, stopped all 48 shots he faced in two starts for the Portland Winterhawks as the team extended its winning streak to 10 games.

Development Coach Dave King has taken a leave of absence from the Coyotes to become a coach for Jaroslavl in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League for the remainder of their season. The KHL’s regular season ends March 3, and the playoffs would end no later than April 30. Once that team’s season ends, King will resume his role with the Coyotes.

The Coyotes’ affiliate in the American Hockey League and the Cumberland County Civic Center in Maine have agreed to a five-year lease starting with the 2014-15 season.

In the meantime, the Portland Pirates will continue to play their 2013-14 home schedule at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine.

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