The Phoenix Coyotes captured their fifth win in a row and Mike Smith recorded his third shutout of the year in a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena.
The Coyotes are playing their best hockey of the season at the most opportune time. Radim Vrbata, Boyd Gordon and Kyle Chipchura scored for the Coyotes who are now in the thick of the playoff race in the Western Conference. Phoenix currently sits alone in eighth place, two points ahead of Colorado.
"Our forwards did a great job helping us out," said Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle after the win. "Overall, this was a great team effort, but we know we have to keep playing at a high level to stay in the playoff picture. "
The Blackhawks have now lost eight of their last ten and need to turn things around quick if they plan to stay alive in the playoff race.
Vrbata's goal was his 28th of the year and came just over three minutes into the game. The Coyotes kept up the pressure and less than three minutes later Gordon slammed home an easy goal to put the Coyotes up 2-0.
Chipchura's goal came midway through the second period on a beautiful pass from Gilbert Brule to make it 3-0. Both Brule and Chipchura have proven to be unexpected, but major contributors for the Coyotes this year.
Smith was the catalyst in the victory Saturday. The Coyote goaltender stopped 38 shots in the victory and has been on fire since the All-Star break. The shutout was the 14th of Smith's career.
Smith remained humble after the win saying, "In the last two, three weeks, the guys in front of me have found ways to tie up stick and let me see the puck."
The Coyotes will look to stay hot and improve on their season-high five game win streak Monday night when they visit the Vancouver Canucks. The game is available on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and the puck drops at 8 p.m.