Scouting the Enemy: Anaheim Ducks vs. Arizona Coyotes

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November 7, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) blocks a shot against Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen (45) during the overtime period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

3. When the then-Phoenix Coyotes won the Pacific Division and went to the Western Conference Final in the 2011-2012 season, they were fifth in the league in goals against per game (2.37). However, those numbers have gone down each season, and the Coyotes are 24th in the league, allowing 3.05 goals per game, which is unexpected for a Dave Tippett coached team. How much of that is on Mike Smith (whose GAA has gotten worse in each of the past three seasons as well)?

Richie: Smitty certainly hasn’t been the same since he took the Coyotes to the Western Conference Final, and he has been shaky at times this season (and his numbers reflect that), but I honestly believe that the Coyotes play in front of Smith has been less than satisfactory (and the coaches and players have said this). This has turned around quite a bit, as the Coyotes have played much better of late. They now rank fifth in the league in blocked shots, a goaltender’s best friend.

Bill: I’m not a big fan of the huge contract the Coyotes rewarded Mike Smith after just one outstanding year (six year, $34 million deal before the 2013-2014 season). He has played very poorly so far this season, and Devan Dubnyk has looked better. I think now the team feels like they must play him since they are paying him so much. The success of past teams has been attributed to a strong defense in front of the goaltender, and that has not been the case thus far this season. They have started to tighten things up a bit of late, but if Smith continues to falter, I would trade him, We has some good prospects in the minors to replace him. I’m quite disappointed in his play, and feel he last lost his edge he once had. Can he recover? Not sure they will want to wait to see. He’s gone…