The last time Lightning G Mike Smith played in Boston, he allowed five goals on 22 shots before being pulled in an 8-1 loss. One goal was from 76 feet when Smith anticipated Dennis Seidenberg would rim the puck along the boards, left his net and watched Seidenberg shoot the puck straight in. Smith said the Dec. 2 debacle will be forgotten when, if as planned, he faces the Bruins tonight at TD Garden in Boston. Coach Guy Boucher called the game a "gigantic test" for his goalie. "If you look at it like that, then there's going to be a lot of problems that transpire because of it," Smith said Wednesday of his first game for Tampa Bay since his Feb. 25 recall from AHL Norfolk. "Every goalie has had bad games against teams. You can't go into a game thinking about the last time you played. I've played good hockey since December. You can't dwell on the past." Smith, 28, is on a streak. He won two straight for Tampa Bay, on Dec. 16 and 18 against the Thrashers and Sabres, stopping 49 of 51 shots, before a knee injury sidelined him a month. In five games with Norfolk while the Lightning figured out its goaltending situation behind starter Dwayne Roloson, Smith was 1-4-0 but had a 1.83 goals-against average, a .924 save percentage and a shutout. Still, facing the Bruins, winners of six straight, the day after a loss to the Devils won't be easy. "It's a gigantic test, but he has to do it," Boucher said. "That's what a backup does. He has to take some tough games. … I think, really, he's going to be the only guy with energy after we, hopefully, leave everything on the ice (against New Jersey)."
Mike Smith expected to start in goal for Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Boston Bruins on Thursday
Tampa Bay Times | Mar 3