The Phoenix Coyotes gave the hosting Ottawa Senators seven power plays on Saturday at the Canadian Tire Centre.
Antoine Vermette didn’t notice.
Against his former team, the center grabbed the second hat trick of his career — scoring his third goal of the day in overtime, to give the Coyotes an impressive comeback win, after they trailed 2-0 and 3-2 in the game.
And while the Coyotes had 22 minutes of penalties, they managed to only allow one power play goal, thanks in large part to the impressive netminding of Mike Smith, who stopped 37 of the Senators’ 40 shots on goal.
What’s more? The Coyotes themselves had six power play opportunities and capitalized on two of them — a better ratio than that of their opponents.
Smith’s work in the goal was impressive throughout the day, given the relative lack of help from his undisciplined teammates and struggling defense. But a key moment came late in the third when Vermette, the game’s first star, sacrificed his body to block a hard slapshot and further keep the Coyotes in the hunt.
The only goal not scored by Vermette, whose performance was easily the best thing going for the Coyotes on Saturday, came from Radim Vrbata, who logged his 10th goal of the season after beginning the year with a hat trick. It was the second straight game that Vrbata’s line, which has struggled to date, was able to produce a goal.
On Wednesday, Coyotes CEO Anthony LeBlanc told Doug and Wolf that he believe Smith was one of the best goaltenders in the game, despite his not-so-impressive stat sheet.
On Saturday, from an eye-test point of view, Smith indeed looked incredibly impressive, despite allowing three goals on 40 shots. The continued lack of support for the Coyotes’ goalie — coming in the form of penalties and poor defensive discipline — is disheartening to see.
The Senators’ second goal, for example, came via a breakaway, with Zack Smith outskating the Coyotes defense.
The Coyotes’ long road trip through eastern Canada heads south to Buffalo, where they’ll face the Sabres at 5:00 p.m. MDT.