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Goalie nods: Smith goes for Coyotes, who worry they’re ‘wasting a tremendous performance’

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Arizona has not been good this year. The Coyotes head into Wednesday night’s action sitting 29th in the NHL and have given up the seventh-most goals (101) in the league.

Now imagine where they’d be without Mike Smith.

The veteran netminder is having a remarkable season. Despite missing a month of action due to injury, he still sits 21st among all goalies in shots faced this season, with 626.

Now quick, do the math.

Smith has only played in 18 games this year, meaning he’s facing an average of 34.7 per night.

In light of this, his .928 save percentage on the year is pretty special. And that’s on top of one incredible effort — a franchise-record 58 saves against Columbus earlier this month — and a 2.65 GAA which is very respectable, given the circumstances.

More on Smith, from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman:

[Shane] Doan (and several of his teammates) were really selling Mike Smith during the team’s trip to Toronto.

“Please talk about what a great year he’s having,” one said. “It’s like we’re wasting a tremendous performance.”

Smith will get another start tonight, when the Coyotes host the Oilers at Gila River. For Edmonton, Cam Talbot is in goal.

Elsewhere…

— Quiet night in the league, with just one other game on the docket. In Philly, the red-hot Steve Mason will get another start as the Flyers host the Caps. He’ll be up against Braden Holtby, who gets the nod for Washington.

Fight video: Flyers’ Manning vs. Penguins’ Gaunce

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Breaking: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers don’t like each other.

The stakes might be higher for the Penguins than the Flyers – aside from those who still believe Philly has a shot at a playoff run – their rivalry rarely subsides.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Sunday featured at least one fight, with Cameron Gaunce squaring off against Brandon Manning in a pretty spirited bout.

Manning isn’t shy about fighting, by the way; this was his seventh bout of the season, according to Hockey Fights.

Higher on the radar for the Penguins is the situation for Conor Sheary, who has been absent from the ice since about midway through the first period. PHT will keep an eye out for updates on what could be yet another injury for the health-challenged Pens.

Dreading the work week? Watch this dog get ‘ice time’ with puck

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Life is difficult, complex and confusing. Good thing we have dog videos.

Forgive this video being one night late, but for those of us who watch cute animal clips, time is a furry circle. Or something like that.

Anyway, this golden retriever got a little “ice time” before the Washington Capitals’ game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday in what would end up being a 4-1 win for the Caps. It’s an excellent video featuring a top-notch, hilarious pooch.

Alternate joke: Now that is some puck retrieval.

Patrik Laine’s out sick for Jets on Sunday

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Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews are locked with identical goals (34), assists (27) and points (61) on Sunday, which is remarkable since Laine has played in 67 games versus 75 for Matthews. He won’t get a chance to beef up his numbers on Sunday, either.

It looks like the high-scoring rookie is missing the Winnipeg Jets’ contest against the Vancouver Canucks because of an illness, according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky.

The Jets are almost assured to miss the playoffs, so seeing Laine lose a chance to bolster his Calder argument adds a little extra sadness to the night.

NHL schedules hearing for Micheal Haley’s sucker-punch on Calle Jarnkrok

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced a Monday hearing for San Jose Sharks tough guy Micheal Haley for his “roughing/sucker punch” on Calle Jarnkrok of the Nashville Predators.

The league didn’t specify if Haley will face a telephone or in-person hearing on Monday afternoon. They did, interestingly, use the phrase “sucker punch” in that official announcement.

Haley received a match penalty during the game. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was highly upset about the hit that inspired Haley’s actions.

“When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth,” DeBoer told reporters.

In other bad news for the Sharks, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports that Logan Couture‘s situation isn’t looking promising after he was hurt on Sunday.