Smith, Ekman-Larsson lead Coyotes past Blues

Steve Overbey, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS - Mike Smith does not mind the extra work.
But the Phoenix goaltender, like anyone, would like to kick back and relax every once in a while.
The overworked Smith shined again on Tuesday recording 37 saves and defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored 56 seconds into overtime to lead the Coyotes to a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues.
Phoenix has won seven of eight. The Coyotes (13-4-2) are off to their best start since they began the 1998-99 season with a 14-2-2 mark.
St. Louis lost for just the second time in eight games.
Smith, who has faced a league-high 555 shots this season, improved to 11-3-2 with his fourth win in five November starts.
"I don't like it, it's just the way things have worked out so far," he said of the high shot totals. "Obviously, we have to tighten that up and get the shot totals down."
Ekman-Larsson took a pass from center Mike Ribeiro and whipped a shot behind St. Louis goalie Jaroslav Halak from the middle of the ice to back Smith's fine effort.
"It was a great play by (Ribeiro)," Ekman-Larsson said. "So I shot it. It was perfect."
Ekman-Larsson scored his fourth goal of the season and his third game-winner.
But it was the play of Smith that changed the complexion of the contest.
"Give our goalie credit, he played well," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "There were parts of the game I liked and parts of the game I didn't like."
Smith turned in several highlight-reel stops in the third period when the Coyotes were outshot 13-3. He robbed center Derek Roy with an eye-popping glove save to keep the game tied 2-2 with 7:05 left in regulation.
"It was more luck than anything," Smith said, "It just ended up in my glove. But I'll take it."
The 31-year-old made a season high 48 saves in a shootout win over San Jose on Nov. 2. He also stopped 41 of 42 shots in a 3-1 triumph over Los Angeles on Oct. 29.
He is used to facing plenty of rubber.
"I don't care if it's 40 shots or 20, as long as we get the two points," he said. "But it was nice for me to play like that and bail the guys out. I've let in a lot of goals where the guys have bailed me out."
St. Louis defenseman Roman Polak tied the game 2-2 with 17:11 remaining in the third period on a wrist shot off a perfect cross-ice pass from Alexander Steen, who has a point in a career-best 11 successive games,
Phoenix left winger Mikkel Boedker broke a 1-1 tie by converting on a 2-on-1 off a nifty pass from center Rob Klinkhammer with 31 seconds left in the opening period.
It was Boedker's fourth goal of the season, all have come on the road.
Right winger David Moss scored his first goal of the season for Phoenix blasting in a wrist shot at 7:49 of the opening period to tie the game 1-1.
St. Louis took a 1-0 lead on a goal by center Maxim Lapierre just 5:53 into the contest.
The Blues had tied a franchise record with an 11-2-2 start prior to Tuesday's setback.
"Some guys are struggling offensively right now, and we've got to get them going," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said.
NOTES: Phoenix C Martin Hanzal missed the contest with an illness. He is considered day-to-day. ... The Blues have scored first in their last eight games. ....Phoenix has won a league-best three games when trailing after two periods. ... St. Louis D Jordan Leopold is out for up to two months with a broken knuckle on the index finger of his right hand. ... Blues LW Brenden Morrow returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing the previous five games with an upper-body injury. ... St. Louis LW Alexander Steen played in his 300th game as a member of the Blues. ... Phoenix has been outscored 11-19 in the first period this season.

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