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WATCH: Mike Smith with a save of the year candidate

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

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The Phoenix Coyotes lost to the Nashville Predators 3-0 on Thursday night, but it's difficult to place any of the blame on goaltender Mike Smith. The Coyotes once again struggled offensively, and Smith kept his team in the game and gave it a chance through the first two periods.

His two best saves of the night came in the closing seconds of the second period, when he took away what appeared to be sure goals for the Predators. Both times, the event staff in Nashville set off the goal horn thinking the puck was in. Both times, Smith flat out robbed them.

The first save is nice, but the second one -- on Gabriel Bourque -- is absolutely incredible.

No idea how he kept that out.

Smith's performance has regressed this season from where it was a year ago (as should have been expected), and that should be a concern for a Coyotes team that doesn't score a ton (they've scored more than three goals only three times this season).

But on this night, it's hard to pin him with the loss, especially since saves like the ones above kept Phoenix in the game longer than it should have been.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @Agretz on Twitter and like us on Facebook. Also, subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

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