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Nov 16, 2012 7:55pm
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GLENDALE, Ariz. Patrick Chung Jersey . —In his last three
games, Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith has faced 136 shots and not one of them
has made it into the net. The trio of shutouts was capped by his most
spectacular performance yet. Smiths 54 saves in Tuesday nights 2-0 victory over
Columbus are the most in a regular-season shutout victory in NHL history. Even
more impressively, he did it despite seven Blue Jackets power plays. “It wasnt
easy, obviously,” Smith said, “but pucks just seemed to be hitting me.” As
general manager Don Maloney put it, Smith “is willing us into the playoffs.” A
team that opened the season with goalie as a perceived weakness has relied
heavily on Smith all season, and his best efforts have come when the Coyotes
needed them most as they work to survive an incredibly tight scramble for a
playoff berth in the Western Conference. The streak began last Thursday against
San Jose as Phoenix began a crucial three-game home stand. That 2-0 victory was
followed Saturday by a 4-0 triumph over Anaheim, then the 2-0 triumph over
Columbus. Overall, Smith has gone 219 minutes and 59 seconds without allowing a
goal. “That,” Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said, “is what you would call a
guy being in his zone.” The most eye-popping saves came in the third period
against Columbus. In one instance, the Blue Jackets James Wisniewski had an open
look at the net, but Smith flung his left arm into the air and caught the puck
on the fly as he sprawled in the other direction. “Its been as fun to watch as
anything,” team captain Shane Doan said after the team practiced on Wednesday.
“Not just the way hes playing but the flair he likes to play with. When you have
the best player on the team, sometimes you find yourself watching him. Hes been
incredible.” Coach Dave Tippett gave Smith the day off Wednesday, resting him
for the final two games of the regular season—at St. Louis on Friday and at
Minnesota on Saturday. Phoenix is tied with Los Angeles with 93 points, but the
Kings are the Pacific Division leaders because they own the tiebreaker over the
Coyotes. That leaves Phoenix in seventh. A loss by Dallas or either a victory or
overtime loss by the Coyotes clinches a playoff berth, and the fight for the
division title could go down to the final game. Smith came to a team sorely in
need of a No. 1 goalie. The Coyotes are under strict budget restraints in the
third season under NHL ownership. When goalie Ilya Bryzgalovs contract with
Phoenix expired after last season, there was no way Phoenix could afford to
re-sign him. The front offices attention had turned to Smith before the season
was over. Tippett and Smith were together in Dallas, and the coach said he was
certain the young goalie would be a starter somewhere. Eventually, Smith was
shipped to Tampa, where he languished for four seasons, never becoming the No. 1
player at his position. Phoenix seemed a perfect opportunity, and he signed a
two-year contract. With the Coyotes, he has been tutored by goaltending coach
Sean Burke, whose career as a player mirrored that of Smith. “First of all,”
Burke said, “I knew we were getting an athlete who was hungry, who was going to
want to prove a lot to a lot of people and establish himself .” Burke downplays
his influence. “I really have to say most issues have been really easy with him
because hes a great athlete, he works extremely hard,” Burke said. “Technically,
we work on little things like everybody does, but theres been no secret formula
to it. Its just been the consistent work ethic and trying to stay even-keeled,
and most of that hes done on his own.” Burke said there is no more athletic
goalie in the league than the 6-foot-4, 218-pound Smith. “When I say that, I
dont think theres one who has as many attributes as he does,” Burke said.
“Theres lots of guys—I think of the way Tim Thomas (of Boston) plays and
certain guys play very athletic, but I dont know if theres a better athletic
package where youve got a guy with size and strength and hes a great athlete. He
can handle the puck and he competes hard. You throw in the confidence and the
mental level with all that, that makes a pretty effective athlete.” The night
the shutout streak began, Smith was named the teams MVP. No one would argue. “He
hasnt surprised me,” Tippett said. “Ive always been a fan of Schmitty. I thought
he was going to be an excellent goaltender in this league from when I had him as
a young guy in Dallas. In that sense, it doesnt surprise me. What is very
gratifying is how hes embraced the role. Hes embraced the position and his will
to win is unbelievable right now.” Leave it to Doan to describe Smith best. “Hes
super-competitive, intense and athletic, I mean incredibly athletic,” the
Coyotes captain said, “and a lot of fun. I really enjoy him, and hes a guy that
everyone in the room cheers for. You want good things to happen to him.” Tom Brady Womens Jersey . —Freddy Adu
scored twice and the Philadelphia Union beat the Houston Dynamo 3-1 on Sunday to
snap an eight-game winless streak and avoid dropping out of playoff contention.
Rob Gronkowski Womens Jersey . —For
Luc Robitaille, this is about seeing a task through to the end. http://www.nikenewenglandpatriotsjerseyssale.com/tom-brady-jerseys
. Jennerich, 30, and Patricia Obee, 20, finished in second place to advance to
the semi-finals. They needed to place in the top three. Stevan Ridley Womens Jersey . The club also
announced the signing of forwards Keegan Dansereau and Brandon Svendsen to
amateur tryout agreements. Smith, 24, has been in the Senators organization
since signing as an undrafted college-level player in April 2007. Tom Brady Youth Jersey .J. —Stacy Lewis won
the ShopRite LPGA Classic on Sunday and is poised to rise to the top of another
list.PHILADELPHIA—If he keeps this up, Josh Beckett wont have to worry about
hearing boos anymore. Beckett pitched 7 2-3 strong innings and
Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a three-run homer to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 5-1
win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday. Mike Aviles also homered and drove
in two runs for Boston, which has won eight of 10 games overall after taking the
final two of this three-game series. Beckett (4-4) was booed off the mound May
10 when he allowed seven runs in 2 1-3 innings following news that he had played
golf while skipping a start to rest a strained lat muscle—but he has been
spectacular since. After shutting out Seattle in a home win on May 15 by
pitching seven scoreless innings and giving up four hits with nine strikeouts
and two walks, Beckett allowed one run on seven hits Sunday while striking out
five and walking two. “I was making pitches when I needed to and the defence was
unbelievable, everybody contributed,” Beckett said. “I was keeping the ball down
and I threw a few changeups, or I got ground balls. Its nice to keep the ball in
this ballpark.” His only blemish was Juan Pierres sacrifice fly in the eighth
that gave Philadelphia its only run. “His stuff was really moving today,” Boston
manager Bobby Valentine said of Beckett. “He was aggressive in the strike zone
and he looked like he wanted it.” Adrian Gonzalez went 2 for 4 and now is 9 for
16 lifetime against Phillies lefty Cliff Lee. Lee (0-2), making just his sixth
start of the season after spending time on the DL with a strained oblique, had
his worst start of the year. In seven innings, he allowed five runs on nine hits
—both season highs. He struck out six and walked one. “Theyve got a good
offence,” Lee said. “They make you throw a lot of pitches. They foul off good
pitches until they get one to hit. Its definitely the sign of a good offence,
which they are.” The three-time All-Star and 2008 AL Cy Young winner has been
pitching well this season, entering with a 1.95 ERA, but has not been getting
run support some of the time or bullpen support other times. The Phillies
offence didnt help Lee, once again, but this time the left-hander wasnt able to
keep Philadelphia close. “Tonight it was definitely my fault,” he said. “Ive
gotta do a better job of that. I gotta get deeper in the game without giving up
so many runs. This one falls on me.” Aviles led off with a homer for the second
straight game, ripping Lees 1-1 cutter into the seats in left. “I just try to
put the ball in play, try to hit the ball up the middle and whatever happens,
happens,” Aviles said. “Im just trying to get on base.” After Aviles RBI single
in the second gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead, Boston went ahead 5-0 in the third
inning on Saltalamacchias three-run homer that cleared the seats in centre field
and reached Ashburn Alley, the fan walkway behind the outfield sseats. Julian Edelman Jersey. Lee said the pitch was
a mistake. “I threw a changeup up out over the plate,” he said. “Other than
that, I felt like they battled. They fouled off a lot of good pitches, made me
work a lot early. They got themselves a nice lead and never really lost it.” Lee
settled down after that, retiring the next 11 batters before Becketts single off
the wall in centre to lead off the seventh. But the damage had been done. “I was
hoping once (Lee) settled in he started pitching pretty good we could score some
runs for him, but we couldnt do it,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “We
hit some balls hard early but we couldnt get any big hits and drive runs in.”
Beckett was in total command against a Phillies lineup that had 15 hits the
previous night. Other than the third inning, the right-hander allowed just two
runners to reach second base prior to the eighth. “He kept the ball down good,”
Manuel said. “He hung in there, kept his pitch count down and (it) allowed him
to go deep.” The Phillies threatened in the third, putting runners on second and
third with one out after Lee doubled, but Jimmy Rollins grounded out to third
and Pierre lined out sharply to first to keep Philadelphia scoreless.
Philadelphia scored its run in the eighth on Pierres sacrifice fly to left that
scored pinch-hitter Pete Orr, who doubled. Valentine lifted Beckett after the
right-hander walked Shane Victorino to put runners on first and second. And the
bases were loaded when reliever Vicente Padilla walked Hunter Pence. But Padilla
got Ty Wigginton to ground out to second to escape the jam. “Thats a situation
you want to be in and Padilla did a good job,” Wigginton said. The Phillies were
1 for 9 with runners in scoring position Sunday, and now are 3 for 21 in their
last two games. Notes: A day after making a sensational catch in centre field,
Bostons Ryan Sweeney didnt play. Valentine said he would be evaluated further on
Monday, mentioning a possible concussion. . Phillies GM Ruben Amaro defended the
clubs use of a cortisone shot last Sept. 18 on Ryan Howards injured left foot.
The reaction was in response to a Philadelphia Inquirer story Sunday suggesting
that the cortisone shot may have contributed to Howards Achilles tear last Oct.
7. ... Boston OF Cody Ross didnt play for the second straight game after fouling
a ball off his left leg on Friday. ... The crowd of 45,586 was the 225th
straight sellout and 241st counting post-season play. ... Philadelphia RHP
Kyle Kendrick (0-3, 5.96), filling in for injured right-hander Vance Worley
(elbow), is scheduled to face Washington left-hander Gio Gonzalez (5-1, 2.22) on
Monday night when the Phillies host the first of a three-game series. ... Boston
RHP Clay Buchholz (4-2, 7.77) opposes Orioles RHP Tommy Hunter (2-2, 4.78) when
the Red Sox travel to AL East-leading Baltimore on Monday. ’ ’ ’ 

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