Mike Smith taking a water break during the game. Photo: Arizona Republic
The Phoenix Coyotes had yet to record a win in the month of March after a stellar month of February. That all changed Saturday night against division rival San Jose, as the Coyotes posted a 3-0 win in front of 14,994 at Jobing.com Arena.
Goaltender Mike Smith, who was named the number one star of the game, made 42 saves to seal the shutout and end the Coyotes five-game losing streak.
Two players who the Coyotes recently called up, defenseman Michael Stone (mid-February) and Marc-Antoine Pouliot (March 9) each delievered two points in the winning effort.
"They learn [in Portland, AHL affiliate]," said head coach Dave Tippett. When they come [to Phoenix], they get thrown into a situation where they can face a challenge head on."
After both teams were held scoreless in the 1st period, the Coyotes struck for two goals in the 2nd. Forward Mikkel Boedker scored the first goal from the slot, capitalizing on a rebound from a Stone shot from the right wing, beating Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi.
The rookie defenseman Stone would score his first NHL goal just over four minutes later, taking a Pouliot pass and scoring from the right circle. That put the Coyotes up two goals heading into the third period.
"I just hit [the puck] as hard as I could, and it managed to find a hole and found its way in," said Stone.
Phoenix added a third goal for good measure 39 seconds into the third period. Forward Raffi Torres grabbed the rebound from captain Shane Doan's shot and slid the puck past Niemi. The Sharks had no answer despite many chances on the evening.
"Smith was excellent through the whole game," said Tippett.
With the win, the Coyotes not only end the five-game skid, they maintain their grip on the 7th spot in the Western Conference and grab points 77 and 78. Phoenix remains three points behind division leader Dallas and is two points ahead of eighth-place Colorado.
"This was a crucial two points that we needed to have," said Stone. "And it feels really good that we managed to get it."