Smith not taking run in Stanley Cup Playoffs with Oilers for granted

EDMONTON, AB – Mike Smith was smiling ear to ear at Ball Arena on the eve of the start of the Western Conference Final.

The Edmonton Oilers goalie, who turned 40 in March, will start Game 1 of the best-of-7 series against the Colorado Avalanche here on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; TNT, CBC, SN, TVAS). It’s Smith’s first trip to the conference final since 2012, when he played for the Arizona Coyotes. They lost that series to the Los Angeles Kings in five games.

To get another chance at reaching the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in his career is obviously motivating.

“You realize as you get older, your chances to make a push and make a run for the Stanley Cup is getting narrower and narrower,” Smith said Monday. “It’s something that we’ve talked about as a group, that your opportunities to get to the conference finals don’t come around every day. So, it’s something that you want to take advantage of when you get here and prepare yourself to try and get to the ultimate spot, and that’s in the (Cup) Final. And it’ll take everyone pulling on the same rope and giving it our best shot to get there.”

Smith is 8-3 with a 2.70 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and two shutouts in 12 starts this postseason. He is 19-20 with a 2.44 GAA, .930 save percentage and six shutouts in 41 career Stanley Cup Playoff games (39 starts).

Smith said it was a “rocky year” leading into the playoffs. He sustained a lower-body injury against the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 19 and didn’t play again until Dec. 29. But even when he was injured, Oilers general manager Ken Holland said he knew Smith could get them to the postseason.

“When he plays, he’s played at a high level for us. He brings swagger, he brings confidence to our group,” Holland said. “I think he’s the best puck-handling goaltender of his era. He helps our defense big time, and it was just a matter of getting him healthy and getting him into playing regularly, practicing regularly. The second half of the year, he did that.”

Smith was strong down the stretch; he had back-to-back shutouts, 4-0 wins against the Nashville Predators on April 14 and Vegas Golden Knights on April 16, becoming the sixth goalie at age 40 or older to do so, joining Dominik Hasek (twice), Johnny Bower (twice), Martin Brodeur, Dwayne Roloson and George Hainsworth.

Smith signed with the Oilers as a free agent on July 1, 2019. He is in the first of the two-year, $4.4 million contract ($2.2 million average annual value) he signed to remain with them on July 24, 2021. Smith is 299-263-78 with a 2.70 GAA, .912 save percentage and 44 shutouts in 670 NHL games (645 starts) with the Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, Coyotes, Calgary Flames and Oilers. He’s getting another chance to get to the Cup Final, and his teammates said they believe he can help get them there.

“We have lots of confidence in ‘Smitty,'” Edmonton captain Connor McDavid said. “He’s 40 years old, but he brings so much energy and so much passion to the game. He battles so hard in there, it makes you want to play hard for him, in front of him, for sure.”

Why Edmonton Oilers goalie Mike Smith is the most fascinating player in the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs

EDMONTON, AB – Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith is an agent of chaos. He’s the most exhilarating player in the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs, according to Edmonton-area cardiologists.

His teammate, Connor McDavid, is the playoffs’ most exciting and entertaining player. To watch him play is to watch poetry in motion. To watch Smith play is to watch the embodiment of a Reddit comment, where every third word is capitalized and misspelled.

In “The Matrix,” savior proxy Neo and his nemesis Agent Smith existed as the result of the machines’ equations trying to balance themselves. In essence, the Oilers’ Aged Smith balances McJesus’ algorithm. Hockey needs Smith’s struggles with the basic laws of gravity to revel in how McDavid defies them. Hockey needs Smith surrendering goals as an enticement for McDavid to score more of them.

Yet hockey needs those few timely, undeniably clutch saves from Smith to deliver victory to the Oilers, to ensure that McDavid’s ethereal performances aren’t wasted.

“The word that’s used most often by the Oilers is ‘battle,'” said Allan “Lowetide” Mitchell, a blogger turned radio host in Edmonton. “He’s never completely out of a play. But there are times when he’s never completely in a play, either.”

Smith is 40 years old and in his 16th NHL season. His long hair and scraggly playoff beard make him look like a 1990s alt-rocker on a 2022 reunion tour. There’s a gangly weariness to his comportment, which is to say that he carries himself like someone who has seen nearly 21,000 shots at his goal between the regular season and the playoffs in his career. His goaltending style is less technical refinement than “by any means necessary to save pucks.”

“He plays intensely deep in his net and comes way, way out to play the puck,” said Cat Silverman, a goaltending analyst who covered Smith as a journalist during his time with the Arizona Coyotes. “When he’s feeling it, he’s unstoppable, because he has such a command. So few other goalies can replicate it.

Smith’s second straight shutout for Oilers is historic feat

EDMONTON, AB – Mike Smith continued his hot streak in historic fashion for the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

The 40-year-old made 39 saves in a 4-0 victory against the Vegas Golden Knights at Rogers Place, his second consecutive shutout and his sixth straight win. Smith became the sixth goalie in NHL history with back-to-back shutouts at age 40 or older, joining Dominik Hasek (twice), Johnny Bower (twice), Martin Brodeur, Dwayne Roloson and George Hainsworth.

Oilers Sign Mike Smith to Two Year Extension to Take Care of “ Unfinished Business”


Mike Smith isn’t quite ready to ride off into the sunset over the Okanagan Lake just yet.

Speaking from his family’s home in Kelowna on Saturday with a fresh two-year pact with the Edmonton Oilers signed and delivered, the 38-year-old netminder is approaching his 16th season in the National Hockey League with the same vigour and determination as he did breaking into the League as a backup with the Dallas Stars in 2006.

Oilers, goaltender Mike Smith agree to terms on one-year, $2M deal

EDMONTON, AB – The Edmonton Oilers are bringing back netminder Mike Smith on a one-year, $2-million deal, the team announced Saturday.

Smith, 38, appeared in 39 games for the Oilers in 2019-20, winning 19 of his 37 starts and finishing the campaign with a .902 save percentage, 2.95 goals-against average, and with one shutout to his name.

The veteran spent two years in Calgary prior to his Oilers stint, preceded by runs in Phoenix, Tampa Bay and Dallas.

Mike Smith: More than a Feeling

EDMONTON, AB – Six months before concerns over the coronavirus outbreak paused the NHL schedule, pushing players and fans alike into social isolation, goaltender Mike Smith received an unwanted trial to life in quarantine.

Illness for the then-37-year-old netminder, who turned 38 last month, pushed his arrival at Oilers Training Camp back more than a week to a team trip to Kelowna, BC, after being sequestered at home instead of being able to put in initial preparations for his 14th NHL season with his new teammates.

Mike Smith locked in as Oilers’ No. 1: ‘He is a leader and a goalie’

NASHVILLE, TN – The race is over, the contest closed.

Tonight’s starter, Mike Smith, is the Edmonton Oilers No. 1 goalie. Mikko Koskinen a solid No. 2 — full stop.

No bad start down the stretch or ugly giveaway is going to turn back the clock on a competition that quietly ended over the past few weeks.

Forget about age, or Koskinen’s wage. Not only has Smith been given two-thirds of the starts since Jan. 1, he’s given his team an 11-1-4 record since the calendar turned to 2020, and the kind of attitude that was on display when Leon Draisaitlhad this to say to a sold-out barn on the in-house, post-game interview Saturday:

“You guys are (expletive) phenomenal!”

Of all the one-year contracts that general manager Ken Holland signed last summer, Smith’s has been the most impactful — and not just because he’s stopping pucks. He’s given a head-shy organization a backbone, showing its young superstars how to carry themselves with some swagger.

Mike Smith Named One of the NHL ‘Three Stars’ of the Week

NEW YORK, NY – Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson, Washington Capitals left wing Jakub Vrana and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Nov. 3.

Smith stopped 74 of the 76 shots he faced, compiling a 2-0-0 record, 0.98 goals-against average and .974 save percentage to backstop the Pacific Division-leading Oilers(10-4-1, 21 points) to a pair of wins in three starts. Smith turned aside 23 shots in a 4-1 triumph over the Columbus Blue Jackets Oct. 30. He then made 51 stops, his third career 50-save performance, in a 2-1 overtime victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins Nov. 2. The other two: April 3, 2012 vs. CBJ (54 SV/54 SA) and Dec. 3, 2016 vs. CBJ (58 SV/60 SA). The 37-year-old Kingston, Ont., native has played in nine total games this season, ranking fifth in the NHL with a 2.12 goals-against average and seventh with a .931 save percentage to go along with a 5-3-1 record.


Edmonton Oilers add Mike Smith in Free Agency

EDMONTON, AB – Mike Smith won’t have to travel far to join his new team.

The veteran goalie, who played with the Calgary Flames last season, signed a one-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers on Monday as NHL free agency opened.

Smith went 48-38-8 with a 2.99 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage in 97 games.

The 37-year-old was 23-16-2 with a 2.72 GAA and a .898 save percentage in 2018-19.

In 13 NHL seasons with the Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes and Calgary, the Kingston, Ont., native is 243-236-68 with a 2.70 GAA and a .912 save percentage.

Smith is also 11-12 with a 2.17 GAA and .938 save percentage in 24 playoff games.