Originally posted on Fang Faction  |  Last updated 2/13/13
(Photo by: Paul Bereswill/Getty Images) If there was a list of underrated goaltenders in the NHL ever, Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes would be on that list. Leading his team to the 2012 Western Conference Finals, playing out of his mind then and before the playoffs started, Smith was unable to be rewarded with being a Vezina Trophy nominee. The Vezina is in his sights and will attempt to repeat his past season's success. Earlier this season, Mike Smith was out for a quite a bit of time with a lower body injury. Smith is now recovering and is getting back to his old self. So far, the only bad game he has played in was against the red hot Chicago Blackhawks, giving up six goals on 22 shots. Mike Smith has incredible size at 6'4". He uses that to his advantage by not having to come out of his crease as much and, in doing so, allowing him to make it easier to go across his crease to stop a rebound that may come up.  One thing that is signature about Smith's play in between the pipes is his glove. Since Predators fans know how good Pekka Rinne's glove is, the Phoenix goaltender is a good comparison. In knowing his glove side is his strength, Smith will have part of himself covering the outside of the net when a player is coming down to his right, leaving a small portion of the net open to make glove saves. It is a dangerous situation to be in and could leave him vulnerable for a good shooter. Also, Smith has great side to side movement in the butterfly. This means a lot of shots, when trying to make him move, will not go in low on Smith. Here is how to beat Mike Smith. Blocker Side: Mike Smith is with the majority of goalies in that he has a tough time getting his blocker up in time before the puck goes past him. This is snipers' delight.   Havoc in front: Players will have to be sure to get in front of Smith to be on rebounds or to limit his vision looking for the puck. Traffic in front of the net is the key to score on Smith, but around the Coyotes defenders, as well. Mike Smith's 2012-13 stats Name W L OT SO SV% GAA #41 Mike Smith 4 3 1 2 .901 2.76 Mike Smith's career vs Nashville Name W L OT SO SV% GAA #41 Mike Smith 3 2 1 1 .899 2.71  
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