Coyotes vs. Kings Game 3: Mike Smith Must Improve for Phoenix to Avoid 0-3 Hole

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent IMay 17, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - MAY 15:  Goaltender Mike Smith #41 of the Phoenix Coyotes skates back to his net in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Kings during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Arena on May 15, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Kings defeated the Coyotes 4-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

If Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith doesn't give his team a better chance to win against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, L.A. will take a commanding 3-0 series lead.

After his team lost Game 2 at home 4-0, Smith was very critical of his team and wouldn't even take much accountability for his own poor performance.


"If we expect to get 23 shots on a goalie of that caliber and not get anybody in front of the net (and have success), we've got another thing coming," Smith said of Quick. "He's too good a goalie to not get traffic, not get people in front. They are doing down at my end, and pucks are finding their way in, hitting guys in front, and we have to penetrate down below their goal line, too."

"I don’t what it is … if we feel like we've accomplished enough by getting here, I don't know. They are a good team. I'm not taking anything away from them. But I don't think we've played near to what we are capable."

Watch more of Smith's post game comments in the video below.

While Smith's criticism is valid, one of the issues with the Coyotes in this series has been the poor performances from their goalie.

Smith was 8-3 through the first two rounds of the playoffs, but he has allowed more goals in the Kings series thus far than he did in the last four games of the second round series against the Nashville Predators.

Sure, the Coyotes defensemen need to play better against a physical group of Kings forwards, but Smith has to stand on his head for his team to beat an opponent that has a goalie playing at an historic level.

Not only does Smith need to play better, he needs to have more composure too. His slash on Kings star Dustin Brown and his constant complaining in Game 2 were not what you need from a goaltender and a team leader. When a team sees a goalie who is not being mentally strong, it's a really discouraging thing.

If Smith doesn't give the Coyotes a fantastic performance in Game 3, then his team will lose and their summer vacation will commence in the coming days.

For Smith, it's time to stop the excuses, play better, and be accountable for your performance.


Nicholas Goss is an NHL Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and was also the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Boston.