Amid tough season in Arizona, Smith sets ‘pretty cool’ franchise record
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Mike Smith knew toward the end of Monday night’s game that an important milestone was within reach. As it turned out, one goal was all Smith needed from his teammates to accomplish it.
Smith set a franchise record with his 22nd shutout, making 22 saves to back Brendan Perlini’s goal and help the Coyotes beat the Colorado Avalanche 1-0 on Monday night.
Perlini scored early in the second period and Smith made it stand, even through a flurry of activity in front of his own net in the final minute.
“To get that many shutouts with one team is a pretty cool achievement,” Smith said. “I’ve played with a lot of different teammates through my time in Arizona, a lot of special people that will be friends for a long time that deserve a lot of credit with this, too. You can’t get shutouts alone.”
Calvin Pickard stopped 34 shots for Colorado, but the Avalanche were blanked for the 12th time this season.
“Both goalies were good, but we missed the net on too many of our good chances,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said.
Smith got his third shutout this season and the 33rd of his career, including five with Dallas and six with Tampa Bay. He’s been with the Coyotes since 2011 and was named an All-Star this season.
“He’s been kind of the backbone here for a long time now, so it’s fitting that he gets those accomplishments,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said.
The Coyotes started without captain Shane Doan, who appeared to be shaken up in a collision during warmups with teammate Jakob Chychrun. Radim Vrbata took Doan’s place on the third line until late in the first period, when Doan returned.
Doan said he got the wind knocked out of him and was checked for a concussion. The 40-year-old has played in all 68 of Arizona’s games this season. He is the Coyotes’ franchise leader in games played, goals, assists and points.
“I had no idea who it was that hit me,” Doan said. “I haven’t been hit that hard in a long, long time.”
In the first period, the teams combined for only nine shots on goal, and none in the final 9:14. Avalanche center J.T. Compher hit the post twice.
It took less than four minutes in the second for the Coyotes to get on the board. Peter Holland sent a pinpoint pass to Perlini on a rush, and Perlini’s wrist shot beat Pickard glove side.
The 20-year-old Perlini has 13 goals in 43 games this season and has scored in three straight.
“Just shooting the puck, trying to get as many pucks on net as possible,” Perlini said. “Hopefully some go in.”
Pickard kept the Avalanche in the game with several athletic saves. He stopped back-to-back point-blank shots from Jamie McGinn and Tobias Rieder just over halfway through the second period, and made the save of the night on Perlini at 14:27 of the period when he reached out to stop a shot on a 2-on-1 rush.
Pickard also deflected Max Domi’s breakaway shot a few minutes into the third period, and thwarted another Domi breakaway try at 14:37 of the period.
Smith moved into third place on the Coyotes’ wins list with 127. His shutout total passed former Coyotes goalies Ilya Bryzgalov and Nikolai Khabibulin.
NOTES: F Rene Bourque and D Patrick Wiercioch were scratched for Colorado. Bourque was a healthy scratch and had played in the last eight games. ... The Coyotes killed a four-minute power play in the first period after D Anthony DeAngelo was called for holding and slashing at the 4:33 mark.
Avalanche: Return home to face Detroit on Wednesday, then on the road for the next two games.
Coyotes: At the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, the second-to-last back-to-back set of games of the season.