Reilly Smith’s confidence helps Bruins finish off Game 2 comeback
The Bruins didn’t like the sound of going down two games to none in their best-of-seven series with the Montreal Canadiens, especially heading back to Montreal for Game 3 Tuesday night. With a series deficit staring them in the face, the Bruins decided to do something about it.
After a lackluster second period saw their once 1-0 lead evaporate, the Bruins used five goals in the games’ final 9:04 to complete the third period comeback-tying the series with the Habs at one.
Dougie Hamilton’s second goal of the playoffs cut the Habs’ lead to one at 3-2. Just over three minutes later, Patrice Bergeron sent the TD Garden into a frenzy as his shot took a crazy bounce past Canadiens’ goalie Carey Price, tying things at three.
Reilly Smith took it from there, changing the outlook of the series.
“It’s a total different outlook” said Smith. “That happened with Tampa Bay [losing Games 1 & 2 at home] and they weren’t able to get their feet back under them. I think it was a huge win tonight. You know the Bell Centre is a tough arena to play in and hard place to pick up two wins.”
The play started with a great back check from Smith in the Bruins zone. Moments later Torey Krug found Smith who fired home the Bruins’ game winner. Smith may have gotten some help on the pass as Habs’ forward Brendan Gallagher slowed the pass down a bit by getting the tip of his stick on the pass. But the slight deflection wasn’t enough to hinder Smith.
Instead of heading off the ice for a line change, Krug remained involved in the play, ultimately setting up Smith for the game winner.
“He made a heck of a pass to Smitty [Smith] there, but sometimes, a player, they maybe feel a little tired but they see there’s an outnumbered situation and an opportunity here to jump in, and I think that’s where Torey is good at seeing those kinds of things” said Bruins’ head coach Claude Julien.
Smith is playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in his career this season. Now seven games into his playoff career, it’s safe to say these 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been an eventful one for Smith. Between knocking out his older brother Brendan in the first round to scoring the game winning goal Saturday and earning the player of the game jacket it in the process, Smith is having fun.
“Oh absolutely, you don’t really expect it [scoring the game winner] from how the game started. You know it’s tough when we are taking a lot of penalties, there’s not a lot of flow in the game” added Smith. “It seems when it got down to it five-on-five, we played well. We dominated the third period, get a couple of bounces and now you’re wearing this jacket.”
After coming over from the Dallas Stars during the summer in the Tyler Seguin trade, Smith had himself a successful first season in Boston. The 23-year old Smith notched a career high in goals with 20, while playing in all of the Bruins’ 82 games this season.
After November saw Smith light the lamp nine times in 13 games, Smith struggled with just six goals in the Bruins’ final 44 games. Despite having issues finding the back of the net, Smith remained confident in himself. Now with three goals in seven playoff games, his confidence has helped him score some key playoff goals.
“I just try to stick with what got me success this year. You know the puck won’t go in the net all the time, but if you stick with what got you success and got you to this level, I think sooner or later you will get back to your game and the positives will start showing” said Smith
No one knew what to expect from Smith when he was acquired from Dallas, but Julien has been more than happy with what he’s gotten from his young forward this season.
“I think it’s been through the course of the year—this guy here has been, like I said before, he plays like a veteran. And he’s very calm in those kind of situations. You don’t see him make too many big mistakes because he’s a smart hockey player, and some guys have it” added Julien.
“It’s a knack he’s had from the start, and with his experience playing with guys like [Patrice] Bergeron and [Brad] Marchand, he’s just gotten better.”
As long as the Bruins continue to win, Smith will continue to have fun. Having fun will only help Smith’s confidence grow. That’s not a bad thing at all for Smith and the Bruins.
See what Smith, Julien, Hamilton, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask and Habs captain Brian Gionta had to say about the Bruins’ comeback.