by Patrick Hoffman on 11/22/08 at 05:00 PM ET
This would be the perfect way to describe Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Mike Smith.
He’s up, he’s down, he’s to the left, he’s to the right, he’s on his belly, he’s on his feet, etc. However, it’s a style that works for Smith and his statistics through the first month and a half of the regular season.
In 14 games, the 26-year-old is 5-4-5 with a 2.35 goals against average, a .932 save percentage (fourth in the league) and 1 shutout.
Oh yeah, he’s also faced 497 shots (sixth in the league) and has stopped 463 (fifth in the league) of them.
Now, this could be because he’s playing behind an especially week Lightning defense and also because he allows a lot of rebounds but nevertheless, he’s getting the job done for his hockey club. Because of the way he has played thus far, he has been able to give his team a chance to win every night, especially since Rick Tocchet has taken over behind the bench.
In three games under Tocchet, he’s allowed six goals on 101 shots while going 1-0-2. He was especially good last night against the Nashville Predators when he made 34 saves in a 4-1 victory. His goaltending allowed the Bolts to grab a lead in the game and actually hold onto it.
The future appears to be bright for Smith but the question remains “How much longer can he handle facing close to 30-35 shots per game before being worn out?
Let’s hear your thoughts on Smith!
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.