Mike Smith (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Arizona Coyotes netminder Mike Smith had a rough outing Thursday night. After allowing two goals in the back half of the first period, Smith was beaten by a bouncing puck from center ice with less than 30 seconds left in the frame. Coyotes backup Anders Lindback played the second and third periods.
Arizona netminder Mike Smith had an atrocious season in 2014-15 on a basement-dwelling Coyotes club. Smith and the Coyotes have taken a step forward in 2015-16, though, if even it’s just the smallest step. That said, Smith probably had flashbacks to last season’s nightmare of a campaign after allowing a laugher from Gustav Nyquist in the first frame of Thursday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.
With less than a minute remaining in the first, Nyquist had taken a pass in the neutral zone from Darren Helm and, after taking one stride over the red line, Nyquist dumped the puck into the Coyotes’ zone. If anything, Nyquist seemed to be attempting to get a light shot on net that Smith would stop and freeze, resulting Detroit an offensive-zone faceoff with less than 30 seconds left in the opening period. Well, it worked out a bit better than that for the Red Wings winger:
This isn’t going to be one of those goals Nyquist is telling his grandchildren about someday, but he’ll certainly take it. And for Smith, this is one of those goals where you hope the netminder has a short memory.
What makes the goal so ugly is that the puck doesn’t seem to change direction on the bounce. When it first makes contact with the ice, it’s heading towards that corner, but Smith misjudges where he has to be to block the puck with his chest, causing it to fly through the hole between his blocker and his body. Making matters worse is Nyquist’s goal came 18 seconds after Niklas Kronwall had put the Red Wings ahead 2-0.
As one might imagine, allowing the half-ice tally to Nyquist ended Smith’s night. When the second period began, Anders Lindback was between the pipes for the Coyotes. Arizona dropped the contest 5-1.