Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mentally Tough Performer for Week 2 2012 NHL Playoffs: Mike Smith

The first round of the NHL Playoffs was full of overtime games. Two of the three Game 7's went to overtime with the Devils and Capitals coming up with the victory. The first round was also full of great performances, especially from the goaltender position.

No one was better, though, than Goaltender Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes. He helped the Coyotes post their first playoff series win over the Blackhawks. Check out these stats (courtesy of Smith allowed four goals in Game 2, but then he bounced back and only let in two per game for the next three games. His impressive Game 6 effort saw him make 39 saves in a shutout of the Hawks to close the series. Then there is this stat: the Coyotes were outshot 241-159 in the series, but outscored the Hawks 17-12. Amazing. That is an average of 40 shots per game but only 2 goals per game.

While Quick of Los Angeles, Rinne of Nashville, and Elliott of St. Louis may have been more dominant throughout the series, no one was under more pressure to win the series for his team. Both LA and St. Louis limited their opponents opportunities. Chicago peppered Smith and he was brilliant. While carrying the load for this team Smith came up big time. For that he is the Mentally Tough Performer of Week 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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