The Arizona Coyotes were eliminated from this season’s playoff race a while ago, but as goalie Mike Smith showed Tuesday in making a stupendous stop on Detroit’s Riley Sheahan, they’ve got no intention of tanking and laying down for their opponents.
The Coyotes are in the headlines these days mostly regarding their odds of drafting junior phenom Connor McDavid, but their players aren’t thinking about tanking the remainder of the season. And there was no better example of that than Yotes goalie Mike Smith, who made an astonishing pad save on Red Wings center Riley Sheahan late in regulation Tuesday and went on to deny Detroit a second point in overtime and the shootout in an improbable 5-4 Arizona win.
The Wings and Coyotes were tied at four goals apiece in Detroit with approximately three minutes left in the third period when Sheahan capitalized on a Coyotes turnover and snapped off a quick shot that wasn’t easy for Smith to stop. The rebound came back to Sheahan, and Smith’s second save – with his right leg stretching out to prevent what surely would’ve been the go-ahead goal – was simply spectacular:
Smith stopped 33 Detroit shots on the night and prevented the Red Wings from taking two points and the victory. Detroit’s players definitely wanted that extra point in their battle to secure a playoff spot, and Arizona’s refusal to lie down and give it to them tells you something about players’ competitive natures.