Help is on the way, and they knew that before taking the ice, but the Coyotes still had plenty to prove. While management believes a base is already in place that’s good enough for a playoff berth, the Coyotes certainly haven’t lived up to that billing – not in the weeks before the Olympic break when their inconsistency was at its peak and definitely not in the days leading up to today’s league-wide trade deadline when they developed a habit of blowing leads en route to losses. General Manager Don Maloney did his part to improve the Coyotes, acquiring winger Martin Erat from the Washington Capitals Tuesday and shipping out defenseman David Rundblad to receive a second-round pick in this year’s draft that could be used to lure another forward or a defenseman before today’s 1 p.m. deadline. But the players have to be better, too, and they showed signs of that in a 1-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks in front of 13,449 at Jobing.com Arena. “Hopefully it didn’t take that to get the response,” coach Dave Tippett said. “But I think when you said that message that we’re trying to help the group, that’s a positive message.” Center Antoine Vermette continued his torrid streak against the Canucks this season, burying the only goal of the game – his sixth in five games against Vancouver this season and team-leading 22nd. Goalie Mike Smith wasn’t tested much until the third period, but he turned aside all 23 shots attempted on him for his third shutout of the season and 27th of his career. “It was a pretty boring game from my standpoint, but I think that’s a good thing,” Smith said. “We did a lot of good things, kind of snuffed them out of chances, left them on the outside and for the most part didn’t give up many Grade-A scoring chances.” With the win over the Canucks, the Coyotes hurdled them in the standings and sit one point out of the eighth spot. “It’s nice to burst the bubble for one and then obviously beat a team that’s right there with us in the standings,” Smith said. “We all know how close it is. It was nice to get off the snide there and get a win and do it the right way.” The Coyotes added Erat and minor-leaguer John Mitchell from the Capitals in exchange for defenseman Rusty Klesla, forward Chris Brown and a fourth-round pick in 2015. They also sent Rundblad and defenseman Mathieu Brisebois to Chicago.
Mike Smith, Coyotes blank the Canucks 1-0
Arizona Republic | Mar 5