Player of the Week: October 14th-20th, 2013
In a week in which the Boston Red Sox dominated the headlines, the Boston Bruins also took care of business as they swept the Florida leg of their road trip with two victories. Honestly, it was tough not to give the Player of the Week to Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino, but Reilly Smith is making a name for himself early on for the Black and Gold.
Smith came over in the blockbuster trade that sent Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to Dallas in exchange for Loui Eriksson and a handful of prospects. So far, Smith is living up to his end of the bargain.
Smith scored the game-winning goal against Tim Thomas and the Florida Panthers with less than a minute left giving the youngster his first goal of the 2013 season. He followed up his heroic performance two nights later as he tallied an assist in the B’s 5-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Smith has one goal and four assists in seven games. He has a plus-4 rating which ranks him tied for second on the team behind defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Dennis Seidenberg.
Head Coach Claude Julien spoke about the play of his young winger versus the Panthers.
“I thought he played well tonight,” Julien said. “Not only did he score the game-winner, but he had a lot of chances early on. There was one time where I told him ‘you have to be a little more selfish there’ because he made a pass when he had a really good chance to shoot.”
Julien wants Smith to be more aggressive, but understands his passiveness early on in the season.
“It’s a young player really trying to do the right thing,” Julien said. “Sometimes you need to encourage those guys to be a little more selfish to take the shot. He’s got a great shot. He’s been reliable on the walls, he’s made good decisions offensively and he’s been a good skill player for us. I like his game.”
Smith could not be more excited about his first few games with the B’s and his performance on the ice.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to score and help the team win,” Smith said. “We could have probably 15 or 20 shots in that game. We played pretty well. Bergeron and Eriksson did a good job of getting the puck up quickly to get the scoring chances.”
Smith has proved he can be a difference maker for the Black and Gold whether it is on the third-line or playing alongside Bergeron and Eriksson. He has been a very good player so far this season, and hopefully, for B’s fans, he can build on his early success.
For those who missed it, here is a clip of Smith’s game-winner from Thursday night.