Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Sports News

Smith makes 54 saves, Coyotes blank Jackets 2-0

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[April 04, 2012]  GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Mike Smith stopped 54 shots and earned his third straight shutout in the Phoenix Coyotes' 2-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.

Boyd Gordon and Gilbert Brule scored 2:03 apart in the second period to provide the only offense Smith needed. Phoenix is seventh in the Western Conference and leads San Jose by one point with two games remaining.

Smith extended his scoreless streak to 219 minutes, 59 seconds, and posted his eighth shutout of the season and his 19th in the NHL. Smith (36-18-10) survived seven Columbus power plays and tied the franchise's single-season shutout mark set by Nikolai Khabibulin in the 1998-99 season and matched by Ilya Bryzgalov in 2009-10.

Gordon converted Lauri Korpikoski's pass to score his eighth goal of the season at 5:45 of the second period. Just moments later, Brule flipped in a backhander for his fifth goal to make it 2-0.

The flurry of goals was a stark contrast from the Coyotes' start. Despite being on the verge of securing a playoff berth, Phoenix looked lethargic early.

Despite shutting out Anaheim in their previous game, the Coyotes began in similar fashion against Columbus. The Ducks outshot Phoenix 19-7 in the first period on Saturday before the Coyotes pulled out a 4-0 win.

On Tuesday, the Coyotes were outshot 12-3 in the first eight minutes, and Smith again proved worthy of his team's MVP status by stopping several attempts in close.

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The Jackets continued the barrage with 22 shots in the second period, and Smith made several circus stops. He turned away Cam Atkinson and R. J. Umberger within seconds late in the period just outside the crease.

Smith's best saves came when the Coyotes were short-handed, and Smith stopped Umberger twice at the goal post 6 minutes into the game.

NOTES: Phoenix F Tyler Pyatt returned after missing six games because of a lower back injury. He recorded his third assist in 14 games. . The Jackets were shut out for the fifth time this season. . Brule's goal was his first since March 14 at Vancouver.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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