Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/17/14
When they were stuck in a season-high, four-game losing streak, the Coyotes would have taken any type of win to flip their momentum. But the one that finally snapped their slump — a 1-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks Thursday at Jobing.com Arena in front of 12,307 — was exactly the one they needed because it was a refresher course on the style of hockey that has led to so much success in the past. “We’ve been searching for one of these for a little while,” goalie Mike Smith said. “Hopefully, that’s a big boost for our team in here knowing we can win a close game. I think that will help us push forward.” Smith was stellar in making 28 saves for his first shutout of the season and 25th of his career, looking like the anchor the Coyotes need him to be in the team’s first win since Jan.7. Overall, the Coyotes were better in the areas that tend to matter most. Their offense didn’t fill the net with pucks, but it found a timely contribution — the only one it would need. On the power play in the first period, defenseman Keith Yandle made two impressive stops at the blue line to keep the puck in the Canucks zone. After the latter, he fed a slap pass to center Antoine Vermette and Vermette’s shot banked off Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis and beat goalie Eddie Lack five-hole at 12:51. The goal ended an 11-game drought for Vermette. “We got the one we needed,” coach Dave Tippett said. Smith was solid in posting his first shutout since April 6, 2013, against Colorado. In his previous 20 games, he had only three wins. The Canucks were aggressive around his crease, making many saves challenging, but Smith tracked the puck well.
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