Reilly Smith stepping up despite losses
With much of the talk being about the return of Zdeno Chara on Thursday night, the resurgence of Reilly Smith is a storyline that can’t go unnoticed. All of a sudden he is ranked second on the team in goals with seven only trailing his line mate Brad Marchand.
After he guaranteed a goal in Anaheim, Smith scored, just a few days later in San Jose and that got the ball rolling. The 23 year-old winger scored two goals in the losing effort that night after being held scoreless in his last 11 games. He also scored against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night in a 3-2 loss.
In his last three games, Smith has been on a rampage. He has scored three goals, assisted on two others, has a plus-3 rating and has riffled off eight shots on net while averaging around 16 minutes of ice time.
The Patrice Bergeron line is back on track and one main reason is the play of Smith. Coming off a 20-goal season last year, Smith is no stranger to lighting the lamp and that’s what the Bruins need at a time where goals are tough to come by.
Smith looks like he is skating with more of a purpose now and playing with more of an edge and his head coach likes it, but wants that result from the rest of his team.
“That’s what we need from – I guess from guys,” Julien said after his team’s 3-2 loss to the Blackhawks. “We need some goals here and when guys like him catch fire, you’ve got to ride them. You hope it kind of gets into other people’s blood, I guess, and they start doing the same thing. You want that fire and you want that confidence, and that’s what we need right now – a little bit more fire in our belly and some confidence. Again, I keep repeating myself with what we need to do to win hockey games.”
Smith is just happy that bounces are going his way at the moment as well as being reunited with Bergeron and Marchand. However, he is more concerned with the team results and not his individual accomplishments.
“I think it’s nice to get a little bit of puck luck, but I think over the past probably 10-12 games I think I’ve maybe upped my energy a little bit,” Smith said after scoring his seventh goal of the season. “I think being a little bit stronger on the puck and it’s nice playing with Bergy and Marchy because they help me out a lot too, but it seems like we’re clicking pretty good right now. If we can help us to get a couple more victories in these next six games before Christmas, it’ll be pretty beneficial.”
“At the end of the day if you’re one short it doesn’t mean anything,” Smith added.
Smith has the approval from Bergeron who thinks every bit of his game is on point right now.
“I think he’s skating really well,” Bergeron said. “He’s creating a lot of chances for us and also for himself by moving his feet and just taking what’s there and right now we’re not forcing plays we’re seeing each other, but we got to keep doing that. He’s doing a great job of that the last two games of the road trip and again tonight so he was really good.”
With the B’s losing four of their last five games, it’s tough to point to positives, but Smith has been on a good run. He just can’t go invisible like he was before his recent stretch of good games. The Black and Gold need him and he knows it. Now, he’s starting to play like he is capable of.
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