Coyotes’ Smith gets shutout and much needed win for Phoenix Vancouver has now three straight on road trip

 GLENDALE, Ariz – In a game where two points were needed by both sides, the Coyotes found a way to digCoyotes-Canucks-4510 just a little deeper than the visiting Vancouver Canucks in a 1-0 win.

A first period goal from Antoine Vermette was backed up by a Phoenix defense that seemed compelled by the urgency of the club’s position in the standings.

“We will take any win,” Vermette said. “But the way that game came up for us — a 1-0 win with Smitty getting a huge win and battling through adversity — I think it’s a good sign. That’s the kind of game we want to play.”

Meanwhile the Canucks have now lost three straight, all in regulation. Given the thrashing they took in Anaheim the night before, their compete level in Glendale was significant. But the outcome was the same, a loss of two points.Coyotes-Canucks-4630

“It’s a team that’s having a hell of a time making an offensive play,” Vancouver coach John Tortorella said. “Our power play doesn’t work again, and it’s been tough sledding.

“We’re grown men here. It’s a big part of our business … to make big plays at key times. We have to get something done. We throw one over an open net. At the end, we can’t even get our power play set up? That’s unacceptable. Our top guys need to lead the way here. I believe they will, but it has to happen pretty quickly.”

The Coyotes bottled-up the Vancouver offense and especially their power play unit all night.

That defensive effort was due in part, to the return to full strength of the Coyotes bench. Since October of this season they had not played with a fully healthy squad until Thursday night.Hanzel-Tnev--4470

The return of defenseman Zbynek Michalek played a major role in their special teams’ unit Thursday.

“That’s one of his strengths, the PK, so it was a very nice surprise, him saying he wanted to jump in tonight,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “He kept this shifts short (16 minutes total), and he became a very valuable player for us in that end.”

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