|Posted by Landon Ewaniuk on April 24, 2012 at 12:05 PM|
'Smith is the best story of the NHL postseason, period. A goalie who was playing in the AHL last season is doing something that not a single person could have predicted coming into the season. Smith put the team on his back and helped them secure a spot in the second round for the first time in franchise history.
Smith stopped 229 shots through six games. For those of you who don't want to do the math, that is just over 38 saves a game."
I would be lying if I didn't say this series victory by the Phoenix Coyotes was surprising. Especially, the way the Coyotes closed it out, a 4-0 series clinching victory, despite being outshot 39-20. I mean, Chicago had the sixth best goals per game average in the National Hockey League all season long, (2.94) and they got dominated in the goals department in the final frame allowing three (Gilbert Brule, Antoine Vermette and Kyle Chipchura) all found the back of the net.
I am shocked purely based on postseason experience the Chicago Blackhawks definitely had the winning edge in this department. However, no one should be surprised about the quality of play out of Mike Smith this kid finished the season as the second-best statistical fantasy goalie for the 2011-12 season, that does not happen by accident. This victory proves that goaltending is still the most important position in hockey.
Interestingly enough, in round two, the Phoenix Coyotes will be facing the best fantasy hockey goalie all season long, Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators.
So, the question has to be asked: Will Mike Smith be able to steal a second series for Phoenix?
Personally, I don't think so. Mike Smith will have to be at his best just to equal Pekka Rinne. The Phoenix Coyotes do not have the wide margin of advantage in this department as they did against the Blackhawks.
But then again, It's playoff hockey. You just never know!
Congratulations, Phoenix on getting to round 2!