This morning, the NHL announced that Edmonton Oilers goaltender, Mike Smith, has been named the league’s third star of the week after posting back-to-back shutouts against the Predators and Golden Knights.
After a disastrous start to the season that saw the 40-year-old goaltender out from October 19th to December 29th, Smith has rebounded marvelously over the past few weeks as he’s finally healthy and playing his best hockey of the year. Over his last 10 appearances, Smith has posted a sparkling 8-1-1 record that includes seven straight wins and back-to-back shutouts that saw him stop all 79 shots fired his way. As a result, Smith became only the seventh goalie in NHL history to record two straight shutouts after turning 40 and the first to do it since Martin Brodeur with the New Jersey Devils back in November of 2013. Needless to say, this recent run couldn’t be further from the 5-8-1 record, 3.57 GAA, and .891 save percentage that Smith was rocking through his first 15 starts of the year.
When asked about his recent play after Saturday’s win, Smith explained how he’s been able to get this done:
“I’ve said it numerous times [that] at this time of the season, you want to be on the top of your game and be a big reason why you’re headed to the playoffs and in the playoffs and playing your best games to give the team the best chance to win. And that’s all I’ve been focused on. I’m not dwelling on what’s happened before or in the past. That’s out of my control now, so I’ve been focused on my next game and really been working hard to get it back on the rails and feel like my last month or so I’ve been really playing some solid hockey.”
For a lot of us, Smith’s start to the season was enough to write him off entirely, but clearly, he wasn’t feeling the same as he’s been able to battle his way back into being a viable option in net. While I have no idea how long this heater will last, I will happily admit that I was wrong about Smith still having some gas left in the tank, and Gord knows we’ll need him to keep this level of play up over the last handful of regular season games and into the playoffs. If you’ve been around long enough, you’ll likely remember Brownlee’s SIUTBOHC acronym and I couldn’t think of a better example of this happening than what’s going on with Mike Smith right now, and I could not be happier to admit that I was wrong. Keep it up, Schmiddy!
MIKE SMITH’S CAREER SO FAR