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Trust

Winning in the playoffs is hard enough. It’s impossible when your goaltender gives the puck away late.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings have emerged victorious over the Oilers in game one of their series. The Oilers picked up two power play goals in game one, but a turnover by Mike Smith sent the puck straight to LA’s Alex Iafallo. Iafallo nearly buried the chance himself, but the puck was kept in the zone long enough until Sean Durzi let a shot go from near the point. The puck deflected off a very-alone Phillip Danault for the eventual game winner.

To be fair to Smith, a deflection goal is a difficult one to navigate. Any time you’ve got the puck tipping off of players, it’s incredibly difficult to figure it out in the split second after the deflection occurs.

Smith’s play with the puck to Alex Iafallo will probably be played over and over today, and for good reason. It was an incredibly careless move in the waning minutes of a home playoff game (seriously, what are those?) that resulted in the game winning goal in your net. It’s an incredibly frustrating moment for a club that was flying high coming into this series.

The play intercepted by Alex Iafallo was reminiscent of a similar move that Smith made in a game against the San Jose Sharks a month ago while in OT. It didn’t work as well against the Kings last night.

Mike Smith’s April was one for the record books. He was playing like Nikolai Khabibulin during October 2011. Nothing was going to touch him. A .950+ SV% throughout the entire month and nine straight wins is an incredible application to become the game one starter in the playoffs.

When the playoffs come? It’s curtains. Smith’s gone 0-6 with an .884 SV% since joining the Oilers. His last playoff win comes over three years ago as a member of the Calgary Flames, when he turned aside 26 shots in a shutout over the Colorado Avalanche.

Last night wasn’t a great night for Smith, but the game could’ve gone either way prior to the turnover. The late turnover really does a number on how much you can trust this goaltender to make the right decisions with the game on the line.

With LA taking the first game, the Oilers are hoping for a split in game 2 on Wednesday. They’ll need to win Wednesday, going back to LA down 0-2 puts them in a world of hurt.

Poll

Who should start for the Oilers in game 2?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Mike Smith
    (82 votes)
  • 41%
    Mikko Koskinen
    (57 votes)
139 votes total Vote Now