Found April 28, 2012 on
Fox Sports Arizona:
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Coyotes coach Dave Tippett insists his clubs postseason formula is one he never drew up.
"Im not a big fan of the rope-a-dope thing, he said. Id like to see us compete harder and make better plays."
So would goalie Mike Smith. Hes stopped more rubber than a Goodyear quality-control tech. Then again, its hard to complain about the final product.
Maybe its a gift from the hockey gods after 15 years of playoff misery. Maybe Smith is just on one of those historic runs that alters all expected outcomes. Whatever the cause, the cardiac Coyotes found a method to manufacture another win Friday night when the naked eye saw no way.
With his team being outshot 25-6 through 35 minutes of the third period and overtime, center Martin Hanzal won a rare face-off in the Nashville end and chipped the puck over to a waiting Ray Whitney, and Whitney pushed it past Predators goalie Pekka Rinne for a 4-3 overtime win and a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.
The way things were going for Marty with draws on that side, I had a slight hunch it was going to go more to their side than our side, Whitney said. I just went to the net and it was kind of a lucky bounce.
There were plenty in this game. Two of Nashvilles goals came off of fortunate bounces off the end boards, the first occurring when Smith got caught behind the net trying to stop Francis Bouillons dump-in as the puck caromed off an uneven partition and onto the stick of Brandon Yip at the doorstep for an easy tap-in.
But there is no getting around the fact that the Coyotes enjoyed the lions share of good fortune on Friday. This was a game they had no business winning. They were dominated more in the final two periods than they were in those memorable first two periods of Game 6 of their previous series in Chicago.
The Predators had the puck on their sticks for endless stretches, making it a moral victory when the Coyotes managed to ice it or chip it out of the zone. And Nashville peppered Smith with the types of shots Phoenix doesnt want to give up.
When I look at it, we probably had about 30 chances, Predators coach Barry Trotz said.
In the third period and overtime, he was under siege, Tippett added of Smith.
And yet, just like in that Chicago game, the Coyotes kept forging leads, kept the Predators from ever gaining the upper hand.
We played more time in our end than wed like, but once again, the resilient Coyotes found a way to win, Smith said.
This in spite of a troubling recent trend of blown leads. The Coyotes were 33-1 when leading after two periods in the regular season, but theyve already blown four third-period leads in this postseason part of the reason theyve played six overtimes in seven postseason games -- and nobody seems to know why its happening.
"Buddy, if I knew, we wouldnt do that," Whitney said, "so I cant help you out there. Youre not going to win many games sitting back like that. We just havent been responding very well when the momentums going one way. We havent been able to turn that.
At some point, thats going to matter ... right? At some point, this turtle method of attack has to come back to bite them ... doesnt it?
Skill and compete are imperative in this game, especially at this level in the playoffs, and our skill and compete in the third period was nonexistent, Tippett said. We were fortunate to get the first one under our belt, but if we expect to win this series, were going to have to be far better than that.
At this point, maybe the Coyotes should just start with baby steps.
Im fine with winning in regulation, Smith said.
BEST OF MAXIM
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Coyotes probably should have skated off the ice Friday night down a game to open the Western Conference semifinals. They probably shouldn't have even had the chance to win in overtime.
But they did, and it was all thanks to -- who else? -- goaltender Mike Smith.
As usual, Smith did all the heavy lifting in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals,...
Mike Smith, Coyotes open second round with Game 1 vs. Preds.
The Predators once again scored three goals on Mike Smith. Once again, it was not enough.Uncharacteristic defensive breakdowns proved costly in the Predators’ 5-3 loss tonight in Phoenix in Game Two. Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata led the way for the Coyotes, each tallying two points, as they took a 2-0 series lead with the win.The game started very similarly to Game One. The...
One team has a goalie who plays the crease like a spider in a web, multiple players who can score and a hard-hitting, defense-first mentality.
The other team ... well, it's pretty much the same thing.
After bogging down two of the NHL's most skilled teams in the opening round, the Nashville Predators and Phoenix Coyotes face off in what will be a two-of-a-kind Western Conference...
The Nashville Predators bogged down Detroit in the first round and the Phoenix Coyotes did the same to Chicago.
Now, after beating two of the NHL's most skilled teams, they move on to face a similar-looking opponent: each other.
Nashville and Phoenix, two teams that rely on superb goaltending and contributions throughout the lineup, kick off what's expected to be a tight...
Another third-period lead squandered at home. Another barrage of shots on their overworked goaltender. The names and uniforms have changed -- Nashville is now on the other bench where Chicago once was -- but the storyline continues on. And in the end, the Phoenix Coyotes just find a way. And this time, "The Wizard" was in charge of the overtime magic. Outshot 16-1 in...
Unheralded. Capricious. Flabbergasted. Those might be the three words you come up with after searching the thesaurus for an hour in an attempt to describe the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. From the downfall of the Bruins and Canucks to the surprise of the newly emerging teams that dismantled veteran cores with ease (re. Nashville & St. Louis...
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes had never advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in 15 previous seasons in the Valley of the Sun. Maybe that's why fortune just keeps smiling on them this spring. Martin Hanzal won an offensive-zone faceoff and chipped the puck to a waiting Ray Whitney, who knocked in the game-winner to give the Coyotes a 4-3 overtime...
One thing that is as certain as the teams that will be moving on to the second round of the playoffs in the Western Conference, is that each team is lead by a suffocating defense and anchored by exceptional goal-tending. Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings, Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes, Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators, and Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott of the...
By Seth Lake
A full week after becoming the first team to advance to the Conference Semifinals round of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, the 4th seeded Nashville Predators will open up their second round series on the road Friday night facing the 3rd seeded Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
Will Hal Gill return to the Nashville lineup Friday night?
The Morning After:Yesterday’s results:Coyotes 4, Predators 3 (OT)RLD 3 stars of the night:1. Mike Smith, PHX (39 saves)2. Ray Whitney, PHX (1 goal)3. Francis Bouillon, NSH (2 assists)---Tonight’s slate:Capitals @ Rangers, 3:00 ET, Game 1Kings @ Blues, 7:30, Game 1#7 Washington Capitals @ #1 New York RangersGame 1… 3:00 ET… TV: NBC, CBCSeason series: Tied 2-2Projected starting...
REASONS YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR THE COYOTES FOR THE REST OF THE POSTSEASON
1. Ray Whitney
Ray Whitney is the kind of guy who plays his balls off.
He is also nearing 40 and continues to be an extremely prolific scorer on a team that would never be considered "high octane."
He is also kind of adorable. But w/e.
If there's any player nearing retirement age who deserves...