Posted January 22, 2013 on AP on Fox
The Phoenix Coyotes rode goaltender Mike Smith to the first division title in franchise history last season, but his struggles are a major reason why the Pacific Division champions are winless in 2012-13. A strong performance from their goalie has the Columbus Blue Jackets off to a surprisingly good start. Phoenix looks to avoid its worst start since relocating to the desert Wednesday night when it hosts the Blue Jackets, who are trying to go their first three games without a regulation loss for the first time in six seasons. Smith has struggled to follow up his career season of 2011-12, when he posted personal bests of 38 wins and a 2.21 goals-against average. He allowed 10 goals on 57 shots in the Coyotes' first two games. The most goals he gave up in back-to-back starts in 2011-12 was eight, but he allowed all the goals in a 6-4 loss to Chicago on Sunday. "We had unacceptable goaltending in both games and there's no excuse for it," Smith told the Coyotes' official website. "...
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