After a very rocky start to the season, Arizona Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith’s performance has stabilized as of late.
Unfortunately, the team’s offense has gone AWOL during the same time frame. The Coyotes have just one win sandwiched between 15 losses since Feb. 10, and they have been outscored 49-19 during that stretch.
Even though the team hasn’t been able to convert many of Smith’s better evenings into wins, coach Dave Tippett had praise for the way the goaltender has been protecting the net lately.
“I would say the last 8 or 10 games, he’s really started to find his groove again,” the Coyotes coach said on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM‘s Bickley and Marotta on Wednesday. “But I’d certainly like to see him get some more support, in the form of goals, but he’s doing his job right now. I think he’s feeling better about his game, and like I said, hopefully that continues.”
Smith’s game log shows that his last six games are probably the stretch Tippett was referring to. The 32-year-old netminder has had five games of 34 saves or more in that span, while allowing a total of 13 goals.
Arizona has only provided six goals during that same stretch, including being shut out twice. So even though Smith has been more formidable recently, his record in the net continues to spiral, now at 11-35-5.
The Coyotes’ fortunes don’t seem to be getting any better, as far as this season is concerned, but Tippett said having Smith “in a groove” gives the team something to look forward to.
“Hopefully, that’s something that we can build on, so going into the summer and going into next season we can start that way,” the sixth-year Coyotes coach said.