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Smith, Coyotes blank Flames

The SportsXchange

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- No shutout is easy.

That's according to Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith, who knows a bit about shutting down opponents.

Smith turned away 30 shots to earn his third shutout of the season, and the Coyotes beat the Calgary Flames 4-0 before a sellout crowd of 17,208 at Jobing.com Arena on Monday.

Smith picked up his 22nd career shutout, and the Coyotes recorded their fourth win in their past five games. In the process, Smith tied Nashville's Pekka Rinne for the league lead in shutouts this season.

"The forechecking really helped out," Smith said. "We were able to circle out, fire pucks into their end and keep the pressure on. All four lines contributed, and the better the team plays, the more comfortable I become."

Smith recorded perhaps his most difficult save late in the second period. That's when Lee Stempniak fired a wrist shot heading to the upper left corner, and Smith made a strong, glove save.

Phoenix scored goals in the opening minute of both the first and third periods, then tagged on two more later in the third to put the game away.

Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle, crashing down the slot, fired in his second goal of the season just 41 seconds into the game. Yandle also scored against the Nashville Predators on Jan. 28.

"It's great to start they way we did," Yandle said. "I thought we were great in front of (Smith). We talked about getting to the net and helping out the goalie, but credit for the shutout goes to Smith."

Thirty seconds into the third period, Mikkel Boedker's centering pass from the right of the net deflected off goalie Daniel Taylor's pads and into the net. It was Boedker's third goal of the season.

Antoine Vermette poked in his fourth of the season in a goal-mouth scramble at 9:27 of the third period, and Raffi Torres added his second of the season at 16:49.

After Yandle's goal in the opening minute of play, the teams settled into a tight defensive game. While Smith and Taylor were not severely tested, play in front was strong, and solid defenses eliminated good opportunities.

The Coyotes' defense, anchored by Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Zbynek Michlalek, was particularly effective in front of Smith and in the corners.

"It was nice to get an early lead, but we wanted to keep pressure on them," said Vermette, who picked up his first goal since Jan. 28 against Nashville. "(Calgary) is a patient team, and we wanted to throw as many pucks at them. This was not our most complete game, but (it) shows how this team is capable of playing."

In protecting Taylor, the Flames were nearly equal. Defenseman Mark Giordano recorded six blocked shots, all in the opening two periods.

Taylor made his season debut for the Flames. Recalled from Abbottsford on Feb. 6, the 26 year-old native of Plymouth, England, posted a 13-10-1 mark in the American Hockey League, where he had a league-leading 1.82 goals-against average.

He wound up saving 33 of the Coyotes' 37 shots.

It was just Taylor's second appearance in an NHL game, and his first since the 2007-2008 season.

The Flames won Sunday in Dallas with Joey MacDonald in net, but they could not carry the effort over to the desert.

"We didn't score, and it's pretty tough to win when you don't score," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. "In this league, it's difficult to win games if you don't have 20 guys on board for every game. This game is not about making excuses. It's about working."

NOTES: Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff missed his seventh straight game due to a knee injury he suffered in Detroit on Feb. 5. Calgary is 4-3-1 without him. ... Phoenix forward David Moss, a former Flame, picked up two assists. ... Calgary completed its two-game road trip, and it returns home for three straight, beginning with a Wednesday game against the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. ... Yandle's first-period goal followed a three-assist game Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, an effort that tied his career mark for most assists in one game. ... Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester played in his 602nd consecutive game, sixth on the all-time list. He is 28 games behind Andy Hebenton. Doug Jarvis holds the record with a streak of 964 games.
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