A lot of people rushed to blame Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith, who was in net for all six of the San Jose Sharks’ goals tonight.
File Smith under the “If only it was that easy … ” category, though. Sure, Smith isn’t an ideal number one goalie, but the Coyotes don’t sport an ideal anything, really. (OK, Dave Tippett might be an ideal coach, but he has his hands full with a team that has little beyond Shane Doan and Keith Yandle.)
The Sharks pounded 52 shots on Smith, including 38 through the first two periods when they scored those six goals. The Coyotes took 29 during the entire game and only managed to score on the power play, which isn’t a fantastic sign for a team that will likely try to make their money at even strength.
As with any result from this weekend – or really the first two months, if you want to kill everyone’s fun – it’s important to avoid overreactions. Still, the Coyotes’ roster doesn’t exactly scream “playoff team” right now.
Most disturbingly, one could argue that their defense was overrated last season, too. Shots totals can be misleading, but many might be surprised that they allowed the third most spots in 2010-11. Ilya Bryzgalov was the difference-maker for them, just like Tim Thomas was for the Boston Bruins (who allowed the second most).
The good news is that the Sharks are one of the best teams in the NHL – especially at scoring goals – so things shouldn’t be this rotten for Smith and the Coyotes all season long. That being said, it might take Tippett’s best coaching job yet to get this team in playoff contention.
Update: Sharks Insider Kevin Kurz echoes these sentiments, stating that Smith only allowed two “soft” goals in that 6-3 loss.