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Coyotes' Smith is magnificent in trio of shutouts

Published: Wednesday, April 4 2012 4:30 p.m. MDT

Phoenix Coyotes' Mike Smith, right, makes a save on a shot by Columbus Blue Jackets' R.J. Umberger (18) during the second period in an NHL hockey game Tuesday, April 3, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz.  (Ross D. Franklin, Associated Press) Phoenix Coyotes' Mike Smith, right, makes a save on a shot by Columbus Blue Jackets' R.J. Umberger (18) during the second period in an NHL hockey game Tuesday, April 3, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. (Ross D. Franklin, Associated Press)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — In his last three games, Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith has faced 136 shots and not one of them has made it into the net.

The trio of shutouts was capped by his most spectacular performance yet. Smith's 54 saves in Tuesday night's 2-0 victory over Columbus are the most in a regular-season shutout victory in NHL history. Even more impressively, he did it despite seven Blue Jackets power plays.

As general manager Don Maloney put it, Smith "is willing us into the playoffs." A team that opened the season with goalie a perceived weakness has relied heavily on Smith all season, and his best efforts have come when the Coyotes needed them most as they work to survive an incredibly tight scramble for a playoff berth in the Western Conference.

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