For round number two, 'How to Beat the Goalie' is just going to focus on the great, Mike Smith. (Hopefully that just jinxed him.) The Nashville Predators will be taking on the Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. The winner goes to the Western Conference Finals.
The cool thing about this series, and the other Western Conference series, is that it is "goalie against goalie", "mano y mano." Pekka Rinne, who has already proven himself as a great goalie, will go against the rising star between the pipes, Mike Smith. The other series is Brian Elliot vs Jonathan Quick in case you were wondering.
Before I go in-depth on Mike Smith, please take 5 minutes out of your day to watch some collaboration high-lights on his saves. The videos will make you respect him so much more, if you don't respect him yet.
Many Predators fans are saying, "What is so good about him [Mike Smith]?". The comeback this player made from last season is spectacular. Last season, Mike Smith played for the Tampa Bay Lightning where he had mediocre season after season. Then, the Coyotes signed Smith up to compete for the starting job after Ilya Bryzgalov left to the Flyers.
So many, Lightning fans are kicking themselves for realeasing him. But the truth of the matter is, Smith wasn't succeeding in the "offense first" system being played down in the Bay. Phoenix ended up being the perfect fit for him, where several months later, he is becoming a super-star.
Mike Smith should be the starting goalie for the Phoenix Coyotes, throughout the whole series. I say "should" because unless Smith gets injured or starts to play bad (highly unlikely). Smith is a much, much better goalie than Jimmy Howard. Unlike Howard, a lot of shots won't go in on Mike Smith. The shots the Predators take have to be quality.
The Nashville Predators are going to have to throw shots on the net, that are quality. When I mean quality, I am talking shots from the point with screens in front, one-timers and snipers. The shots just better not go glove side.
In the last meeting between the Nashville Predators and the Phoenix Coyotes, Mike Smith started. In the three other meetings, Jason LaBarbera was the starter. Smith got the overtime loss, allowed four goals and stopped 31 of 35 shots.
Here is how the Nashville Predators will beat Mike Smith throughout this series.
- One way you won't beat him is glove side. Take a look at the videos above if you don't believe. Smith's glove is just as lethal as Rinne's. By the way, both Reebok Premier 4s. If you want your kid to have a great glove, get him/her the Premier 4 glove today!
- Blocker Side: His strong side is glove and his weak side is blocker. Nashville needs to shoot there, constantly.
- Traffic in Front: Players need to be deflecting pucks, creating havoc and screen Mike Smith. The Predators need to make sure he doesn't see a thing.
I am telling you this now, if the Nashville Predators were to have shots from the point, with a player or two in front screening Smith, the Predators will win the series in 5 games. Nashville just better not shoot into Smith's glove. If it happens often, someone should call an ambulance because I might have a stroke.
Now it is Stat Time...
Mike Smith Stats
Mike Smith career Stanley Cup Playoffs stats:
Mike Smith stats in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs:
Mike Smith 2011-2012 stats:
Mike Smith career stats vs Nashville Predators: