(photo: Dinur Blum
The goalie discussion has been trending all year for the Arizona Coyotes. With Mike Smith having been so up-and-down all season long, Devan Dubnyk has been given the chance to emerge as their go-to starter.
Mike Smith hasn’t started in over a week, the last time being a 5-1 loss to the Nashville Predators that came on December 11th.
Dubnyk has got to g0-ahead in the past three games and he’s been a huge component in getting three points out of a possible six. Even amongst his inconsistent amount of games in goal, the three games in a row has been his longest stint of the season. Some huge games for him including an OT win courtesy of his outstanding goaltending and a clutch last second goal from OEL.
A loss on Saturday afternoon to the Los Angeles Kings might not look so great on his 6-3-2 record, but his 31 saves against the reigning Stanley Cup champs speaks for itself.
The 4-2 outcome can be looked at as a need for improvement in places like their penalty kill rather than goaltending, as two of the goals against were notched on the Kings PP. The PK has been erratic all season, and this past game was not an exception.
Now as for Mike Smith, he is still considered the #1 goaltender for the group, with his long term contract. He is signed for 6 years at $34 million. His record for the season, though, has brought up question about whether or not he is the person to fill that slot.
Just a few weeks ago, Coach Dave Tippett said that if someone wanted to “take the ball and run with it” and get the club the wins that they need, he was “good with that” and Dubnyk has been as close to that as they can get, lately.
Regarding Dubnyk’s past game in LA, Tippett said that he was “outstanding”, and the issues were in the offense rather than goaltending.
The rest of the Coyotes road trip will continue in Canada before coming home for Christmas.
Monday, December 22: Coyotes @ Vancouver
Tuesday, December 23: Coyotes @ Edmonton