Mike Smith may have finally melted the ice off his “clutch” side.
The Coyotes goaltender made an incredible (and incredibly close) save in the final seconds of overtime, then saved two pucks in the shootout to give Arizona a 3-2 win over the Blackhawks on the road Monday night.
The Coyotes (20-27-7) held Chicago close through three periods, matching them goal-for-goal.
First, Blackhawks skater Marian Hossa slipped one in at 12:44 in the second period, then he was followed by Arizona’s Shane Doan at 17:23. Antoine Vermette gave Arizona the 2-1 lead at 3:59 in the third, and Hossa had his second goal at 12:18 — his fourth in a row for Chicago — to keep things knotted at the final horn.
The overtime shot, a slap by Chicago’s Andrew Shaw, was blocked by Smith’s stick after the puck was all but inches over the red goal line. After review, it was determined by the officials the puck didn’t cross the line in its entirety and the game was sent to a shootout.
Lucas Lessio went first for the ‘Yotes and slipped one past Blackhawks goaltender Antti Raanta. Smith stopped Chicago’s Jonathan Toews, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson missed on Arizona’s side. Smith let a Patrick Kane backhander through, but Vermette stepped up with a wrister for the 2-1 lead.
And finally, Patrick Sharp tried to get one past Smith, who fell on the puck for the 2-1 shootout victory.
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) February 10, 2015
It was a fitting win for Smith, who has picked up momentum in his last three games. He made 36 saves on 38 shots by Chicago, and entered the game having saved 93 of his last 97.
What did the rest of the game look like, by the numbers?
Chicago outshot Arizona 38-29 throughout. In fact, they outshot the Coyotes through all three periods and overtime.
Vermette’s first goal gave the Coyotes their first lead of the night, 2-1. He scored his second goal to give Arizona the 2-1 lead in the shootout — and ultimately, the win.
The Coyotes didn’t manage a single takeaway against the Blackhawks, who had 10 of their own.
Doan scored the first goal of the game for the Coyotes and his 12th of the season.
Doan’s power-play goal came off an assist by Keith Yandle, making it his seventh consecutive game with an assist. Yandle is tied for the league lead in consecutive games with an assist alongside Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson.
Yandle has an assist in 10 of his last 11 games.
The Coyotes won their third-straight road game after opening the season 6-13-4 away from home.
After a 6-1 loss to the Blackhawks on Jan. 20, in which Smith gave up six goals on 51 shots, the Coyotes managed to avenge their previous performance behind their goaltender.