The Phoenix Coyotes lost Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals 4-2 to the L.A. Kings. Mike Smith was excellent in goal for the Coyotes, but could not fight off the constant barrage of shots from the Kings.
Smith has grown accustomed to facing a large number of shots, but to have a chance against the Kings, the Coyotes will need to lower the number of shots Smith faces.
Smith saw 47 shots from the Kings in Game 1, the second-highest number of shots he has faced in the postseason.
The Coyotes have been very dominant through the first two rounds of the playoffs, and their dominance has been a result of their defensive system.
Playoff hockey is a much tighter style of play, and games should be lower-scoring with fewer scoring chances than regular-season games.
The Coyotes are a defensive team that doesn't score many goals. For the Coyotes to win, they need to keep the score low and grind their way to a win.
The Coyotes have a great defensive system that helps goaltenders succeed. The Coyotes got away from their system and allowed the Kings to control the game.
For Game 2, the Coyotes need to get back to a strong defensive game where they take away scoring chances and help Mike Smith. If the Coyotes can take away some of the Kings' offense, then they will be able to develop more of their own offense.
Mike Smith has been great all season for the Coyotes, and making big saves to keep the Coyotes in the game. If the Coyotes can keep the Kings' shots below 30, that should be enough to let Mike Smith steal a win for the Coyotes.
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