There have been some exceptional goaltending performances in the first round, but this was the best yet, a 39-save shutout that featured at least half a dozen jaw-dropping stops. While the Coyotes struggled in vain against an aggressive Chicago forecheck, Smith dropped anchor and refused to give an inch. He was at his best while weathering a first-period assault that saw Chicago pen Phoenix in its own zone while outshooting the visitors 16-2.
"I got a little bit of a monkey off my back, which is good," Stepan told NHL.com. "When you're gripping the stick and having a tough time scoring, it's definitely a relief when you can find the back of the net. Not only is that, but our power play gets a lift from it, too. It's two pretty important things right there."
He later helped break open the game with assists on goals by Brad Richards and Chris Kreider, ensuring that the Rangers would return home for a decisive Game 7 clash on Thursday.