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Coyotes hope for improved goaltending vs. Blue Jackets
(Sports Network) - Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith is putting his club's poor start squarely on his own shoulders.
Smith will try to put together a better effort on Wednesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets as the Coyotes try to avoid their first 0-3 start since relocating to the desert.
After putting together a career season for the Coyotes in 2011-12, going 38-18-10 with a 2.21 goals against average and eight shutouts in 67 games, Smith has yielded 10 goals on 57 shots in his first two outings of this campaign.
Four of those came on 26 shots in a season-opening loss to the Dallas Stars before Smith was tagged for six goals on 31 shots faced in Sunday's 6-4 setback to the Chicago Blackhawks.
"Unacceptable goaltending both games," Smith said of his performance. "I know it's early in the season and it's a weird season, but there's no excuse for it. It's a letdown to the whole team. You score seven goals in two games, you should win both of those."
Skating in his 1,200th NHL game, all with the Phoenix franchise, Shane Doan had a goal and an assist, while Martin Hanzal, David Moss and Antoine Vermette also tallied against Chicago.
The Coyotes will try to avoid their first 0-3 start since 1985-86, when they were still located in Winnipeg. The former Jets also began the 1988-89 campaign 0-2 with a tie.
The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, have picked up points in each of their first two games thanks to a pair of shootouts. They logged a road win at Nashville on Saturday before dropping a 4-3 decision to the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.
James Wisniewski and Vinny Prospal scored power-play goals in the third period to erase a one-goal deficit, but the Red Wings netted the equalizer with 6:04 to play in regulation.
The first seven shooters of the breakaway frame then came up empty before Detroit's Damien Brunner beat Sergei Bobrovsky in the fourth round.
"We're trying to find a way to get a point in every single game because every point is so precious with only 48 games," Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson said. "Win or lose you have to put it behind you and get ready for the next one."
Bobrovsky ended with 39 saves in his second start with Columbus, while Cam Atkinson also had a goal.
The Blue Jackets won three of four against the Coyotes last season, with Phoenix's lone win a 2-0 triumph at home on April 3. The Coyotes have won six of their last eight over Columbus in Phoenix.
01/23 10:35:24 ET
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