Battle of Former Coyotes Goalies Featured in West Showdown
Mike Smith who is still playing hockey at the ripe age of 40 was with the Arizona Coyotes for six seasons. His initial season in the desert was when he signed as a free agent in July of 2011. That was his best season as a goalie. He came away with a 38-18-10 record carrying a stellar .930 save percentage along with a 2.21 goals-against-average.
Over his six season with the Coyotes, Smitty had a less than impressive record of 128-132-41. His save percentage of .916 was okay, and he gave up 2.69 goals a game. After his excellent 2011-12 season, the Coyotes went downhill. In fact, in the 2014-15 debacle of a season he had a horrible 14-42-5 record. The team finished seventh in the Pacific Division with a franchise low of just 56 points.
Smith was traded in June of 2017 to the Calgary Flames. Two years later, he signed as a free agent with the Edmonton Oilers. During his Edmonton games he posted a 56-27-10 record with a .913 SV%, and a 2.70 GAA. He has had six shutouts, but his play has always been quite erratic at times. There are easy saves that Smitty makes look difficult, and difficult saves he makes look easy. He has been known to let in some really fluke goals in his NHL career.
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Smith’s Record vs Avalanche
Over his career Smith has an outstanding 13-1-5 record against the Avalanche. This current season he had a 2-0-1 record. So, that certainly displays that he can come up big against a powerhouse team like Colorado. It surely doesn’t hurt to have two dominating forwards like Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid on your team. With offense like that, playing goalie is a bit less stressful. Yet, Smith will need to play in his best form to come away with four wins in this series. Both team are matched up well and the play in net may determine the winner of the series gaining the privilege of playing for the Stanley Cup.
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Darcy Kuemper Has Excelled in Colorado
Kuemper has participated in 299 career NHL games with a 143-95-36 record. He has a .918 SV%, and a 2.48 GAA. In his run with the Avalanche this season, he has gained a 37-12-4 record. His .921 SV% and 2.54 GAA show that he is doing well in Colorado. He has had five shutouts this season to add to his success. Kuemper came to the Av’s in July of last year in a deal with the Arizona Coyotes. The Av’s were desperate for a starting goalie when they lost former starter Philipp Grubauer to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft.
The Coyotes cleaned up in the trade sending Kuemper up north. The Yotes got a 2022 first round pick along with a 2024 third-rounder, plus defenseman Conor Timmins for Kuemper. At the time, the Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong had decided to go full rebuild, and unloading Kuemper was one of the moves to build for the future.
Kuemper, like Smith, has an exemplary record against his opponent in the Western Conference Final. He is 10-2-4 against the Oilers and went 2-1 this season facing McDavid and company.
Mike Smith vs Darcy Kuemper Showdown
While Smith may have the experience versus Kuemper, this will indeed be a showdown of two excellent teams with two very qualified goaltenders. We all know defense wins Cups, so we shall see which goalie comes out on top in this series. Watch for Smith’s untimely gaffs and Kuemper’s loss of concentration as the two veteran netminders look for an advantage for their team.
With the two offenses being extremely talented, it will be difficult to just shut one team down. That being said, this series may not be a low scoring affair. If one goalie gets hot, just like scorers get hot and cold, it could be the deciding factor to move to the Stanley Cup Final.
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