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Mike Smith Surging at Exactly the Right Time for the Oilers

Mike Smith is playing as well for the Oilers as he’s played all season. He’s surging at exactly the right time.

In his last 10 starts, Mike Smith is 9-0-1 with a 1.70 GAA and a .948 save percentage. It’s an incredible turnaround from where he was even a month ago as many fans in Edmonton were thinking it might be best to move on from the veteran because he simply couldn’t stay healthy. Smith has been incredible over his last number of games, including posting two shutouts in his previous three starts.

Related: Oilers Need to Start Thinking About Draisaitl and McDavid Extensions Now

In April alone, Smith has a posted a record of 7-0-0 with a goals-against-average of 1.57 and a Save %: .954. He’s one of the big reasons the Oilers are 10-2-1 in their last 13 games and holding onto the second-place spot in the Pacific Division.

Smith has battled, kept the Oilers in games, and made incredible plays — like the overtime pass to Connor McDavid to help secure an overtime win over the San Jose Sharks. He’s playing the puck with regularity and making fewer mistakes with it and he finally looks like he’s as healthy as he’s been all year. He’s feisty and brings players into the battle with him, and those are all good things.

The question now will be if he can keep it up and continue his hot play.

Mike Smith Edmonton Oilers
Mike Smith Edmonton Oilers negotiating new contract

One of the things that have failed the Oilers in the past is for a capable tandem of Smith and Mikko Koskinen to continue performing well when it matters most. One or two bad games in a playoff series and the Oilers will see another year where a disappointing first-round playoff round elimination will leave the team with questions. Smith needs to bring his “A-game” once the playoffs start. If there’s any doubt he can do that, the Oilers need to give Koskinen some games down the stretch here.

Is Smith Playing Too Well?

Once the Oilers secure a playoff spot, in particular, the second-place spot in the Pacific, expect Koskinen to get a couple of starts. The rest will be good for Smith and Koskinen will need to minutes and the shots to stay warm and engaged. Things can change in a hurry and while Smith might be surging now, the Oilers will likely need both netminders.

Smith might be playing the best hockey he’s played all season but head coach Jay Woodcroft is going to want to keep in mind that Smith will never be playing so well that Koskinen won’t be an important part of this season’s push.

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