After watching Smith kick out an earlier shot while lying flat on his back, Pyatt fired a power-play rebound into the top corner with 44.7 seconds left in the third period to give the Vancouver Canucks a 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Monday night.
With Dallas captain Brenden Morrow off for elbowing, Mattias Ohlund hit the post from in tight and Smith did well to kick the loose puck out from behind him from his belly. But the puck went off his heel to Pyatt in the slot and he spun around and snapped a high shot before the goalie could recover.
"I had a really good chance earlier where I just fired and he got a leg on it, so I tried to get it up high and I was able to find a corner," Pyatt said.
His goal snapped the Canucks' three-game losing streak, even though they were held to two goals for the fourth consecutive game.
"It's been like that the last few games. We've had some really good opportunities and lots of shots on net and we just haven't been able to score," Pyatt said. "But we knew that Dallas was a team that doesn't give up a lot and we had to be patient and not let ourselves get frustrated. We had some really good opportunities and their goalie made some good saves, but we kept it going."
It was a tough ending for Smith, who overcame an early goal from center ice to give Dallas a chance to win. Eric Lindros scored for the Stars, who lost for the first time in four games and just the third time in 14 games overall.
After winning his first two NHL starts -- the first by shutout -- Smith received a rude welcome in his third when he misplayed Kevin Bieksa's shot from center ice into a goal midway through the first period. Smith was trying to steer the low shot into the corner, but missed the puck with his stick and it sneaked under his right pad.
"I just got a little anxious with the stick and it's in the back of the net," he said. "Obviously, it doesn't leave the mind too quickly when you let a goal in like that, but I had to fight through it. Everyone in the building knows it's a bad goal, but you just want to bounce back and try to give the team a chance."
The 6-foot-3 Stars rookie did exactly that, robbing Henrik Sedin twice in close on a power play to keep the Stars within a goal despite being outshot 13-3 in the first period. Smith stuffed Markus Naslund in tight early in the second and took an empty net away from Josh Green on a short-handed breakaway later in the period, diving back with his stick after getting beat on a deke.
Smith, who came into the game with a 1.00 goals-against average and .964 save percentage, was at it again early in the third, scrambling to rob Pyatt.
"He settled down and made some good saves for us," Stars coach Dave Tippet said. "But I'd like to give him a little more help than a single goal to win a hockey game."
Smith finished with 24 saves.
Roberto Luongo, while not as busy as Smith at the other end, was just as brilliant, making several outstanding stops among his 19 saves.
"We played well defensively and got a big goal at the end," said Luongo, who faced only three shots in the first period, including Stu Barnes' breakaway.
Luongo made another breakaway stop on Mike Modano early in the second, but he was hooked on the play and Lindros tied it before the whistle went on the delayed penalty, beating Luongo glove side with a one-timer from the point.
Luongo received a break when the Stars failed to get a shot on a 3-on-1 midway through the third period, but he stopped Modano alone at the side of the net with four minutes left and then stretched to catch Jussi Jokinen's rebound attempt from his back.
"I was really battling hard for the puck," said Luongo, criticized after giving up 11 goals during the three-game slide. "I wanted to make sure I was aggressive the whole time. I didn't get a lot at the beginning and towards the end I started getting a few shots so it was important for me to stay sharp."
- Dallas' fourth-ranked penalty kill blanked the Canucks' 25th-ranked power play on the first seven attempts to extend the Stars' streak of successful kills to 26 before Pyatt scored.
- Marty Turco is expected to be back in goal when Dallas visits Calgary on Tuesday.
- After playing 11 of their first 15 games on the road, the Canucks are at home for six in a row.
- Vancouver was without D Willie Mitchell (concussion) and D Sami Salo (knee), but both skated in the morning and could be back Thursday against Anaheim or Saturday against Calgary.