Phoenix Coyotes: Mike Smith Sets NHL Record in Third Consecutive Shutout

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The last goaltender in the world that NHL offenses want to see right now is Mike Smith.

The Coyotes backstop turned aside 54 shots in a 2-0 blanking of the Columbus Blue Jackets last night in Phoenix, setting the record for most stops by an NHL goalie in a shutout.

The previous record was held by Craig Anderson, who stopped 53 shots in a 1-0 victory over the Islanders on March 2, 2008. At that time, Anderson was a member of the Florida Panthers.

Last night's shutout was Smith's third-straight and eighth of the season—only the St. Louis Blues' Brian Elliott (9) and Los Angeles Kings' Jonathan Quick (10) can claim more.

Smith's scoreless streak now sits at 219 minutes, 59 seconds, which is roughly 11 periods of play.

The Kingston, Ontario native couldn't have picked a better time to play his best hockey as a professional. Phoenix currently sits seventh in the Western Conference, jockeying for playoff positioning with fellow Pacific Division teams, Los Angeles and San Jose.

Currently, the Kings and Coyotes are tied with 93 points, but Los Angeles holds the tiebreaker against Phoenix.

Both teams will attempt to stake their claim on the Pacific Division and a playoff berth as the Western Conference's third seed in their remaining two games.

In just his first season as a Coyote, Smith has appeared in 65 games, posting a 36-18-10 record. Prior to 2011-12, Smith spent time with the Dallas Stars (the team that originally drafted him in 2001) and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Smith signed with Phoenix prior to the 2011-12 season and his contract is good through the end of 2012-13, making him an unrestricted free agent when the deal expires.

Ryan O'Leary is a writer and researcher for Bleacher Report's Video Production Department with seven years experience in the sports industry. 

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