By the Numbers: Smith's shutout trips up Blackhawks
Confusing? So is this team.
After a disappointing loss to a middling Dallas Stars team Tuesday, the Coyotes continued their up-and-down ways with a solid win over Chicago.
For most of the game, the Coyotes and Blackhawks both failed to seize control of the game and looked listless, especially in the second period. However, Phoenix made very few mistakes and did a great job shutting down a talented Chicago team.
When the final whistle blew, the Coyotes emerged the victors. More importantly, they also moved themselves back into the playoffs.
Here's a closer look at the win, by the numbers:
With the win, the Coyotes leapfrogged the Vancouver Canucks for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoffs. They are currently one point clear of their Pacific Division foes.
Goaltender Mike Smith, who is finally looking settled between the pipes, posted his second shutout of the season. He made 30 saves on the night, including a beauty that made Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp stop, stare and slowly skate away.
Center Antoine Vermette continues to terrify NHL goalies. He extended his point streak to nine straight games with an assist on the Coyotes' first goal of the night. He currently has the longest active point streak in the league. In that streak, he's posted 8-4-12.
The power play is an important weapon for the Coyotes. So far this season, they are 20-9-5 when scoring a goal with the man advantage.
Defenseman Keith Yandle likes the power play. A lot. He tallied his 21st point on the man advantage Friday with an assist on Radim Vrbata's goal. He's tied for eighth-highest in the league.
The Blackhawks had not been shutout in 127 regulation games, dating back to February 2012 when the Los Angeles Kings managed to blank them. That streak was snuffed out Friday.
The Coyotes paid homage to the gold-medal winning 1980 men's Olympic hockey team on Friday with a pregame ceremony and press conference. Ten players from the Miracle on Ice team, including captain Mike Eruzione, were in attendance and received a standing ovation and a rising "USA" chant during the ceremony.
The Coyotes set a new home attendance record on Saturday. They welcomed an over-sellout 17,525 fans to Jobing.com Arena. It is the team's fifth sellout of the season.
Carter Nacke, Web Content Editor - KTAR.com/ArizonaSports.com
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