If you were to ask a bunch of NHL players which goalie they thought was most likely to join an odd-man rush, Mike Smith would run away with the poll. The Phoenix Coyotes netminder loves to handle the puck.
He foils dump-ins. He makes outlet passes. Occasionally, he even shoots. And on Saturday, with one second to go in a game versus the Detroit Red Wings, he scored the final goal in a 5-2 victory.
It's neither here nor there, but Smith would be tied for fourth in goal-scoring if he played for the Buffalo Sabres, although, granted, he probably wouldn't have have a chance to shoot at an empty net if he played for the Buffalo Sabres. I digress.
I'd have expected more deking, personally.
Honestly, the most surprising thing about this goal is that it's Smith's first one. Considering how comfortable he is playing the puck, you'd think he would have a two-goal night by now.
With the goal, Smith fulfills his obvious destiny, joining the "goalies who scored" club, an elite group featuring only 11 goaltenders -- although, for all its rarity, we've seen the goalie goal three times in the last three years now.
Two years ago, Cam Ward was credited with a goal after the New Jersey Devils scored on themselves and he was the last to touch the puck. And last season, Martin Brodeur scored his NHL record third goalie goal in much the same way.
And now Smith is hot on your tail, Marty. You think he's satisfied with just one? Heavens no. This is only going to encourage him. The way he shoots, he could match you by the end of the month.
The race is on.
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