On Friday, Mike Smith did what no goalie’s been able to in an awful long time.
Smith stopped all 29 Chicago shots faced at Jobing.com, registering a 2-0 shutout win for Phoenix — marking the first time the ‘Hawks have been shut out in nearly two full calendar years.
The last time Chicago was blanked during the regular season came on Feb. 25, 2012, a 4-0 defeat to the Kings. Since then, the ‘Hawks went the entire 48-game, lockout-shortened ’13 campaign without getting shut down, and made it through 59 games this year before running into Smith.
All told, Chicago went 126 regular season games scoring at least one goal.
While Smith was good on the night, this wasn’t just about goaltending. Chicago was without the services of leading scorer Patrick Kane (personal) and puck-moving defenseman Johnny Oduya (lower-body). Phoenix also played one of its more complete games of the season, holding a Chicago team that averages 33.4 shots per game (second in the NHL) to just 29.
As for the goals, Phoenix capitalized on the man advantage and got two PPGs from Keith Yandle and Radim Vrbata.
With the win, the Coyotes jumped ahead of Vancouver for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, and the Coyotes will play once more before the Olympic break — tomorrow night in Dallas. Chicago remained two points up on St. Louis for tops in the Central Division and now won’t play again until Feb. 27, against the New York Rangers.