I don't know what's clicked in Smith's brain, but I'm glad about it.
There was a play in the 1st last night, he was skating back into the zone with puck, being pressured by an Islander, with another coming in to add to the pressure. He was all alone with no-one to pass to. Being Smith my heart was in my mouth.
So what does he do? He skates behind his net, holding the forechecker behind him with one arm, controlling the puck with the other, then skates up and out of our zone, leaving the 2 forecheckers behind, and carried the puck all the way up the ice and into the Islander zone.
So glad he got 2 assists last night, just reward for his recent play.
i wanted to bring this back up. first off, i had the same sequence on that play as you. i was worried but excited to see his new and improved decision making in practice.
however, i wish he would have taken the same approach on that awful turnover last night. i agree with many in the GDT that placed blame on quincey as he definitely did set up smith to fail. however, it was also a great example of that same thinking that had been exhibited the last couple weeks... the attempted pass that got intercepted and led to a juicy 2 on 1 was a decision smith made a lot last year. his growth in the last few weeks has been partly from his willingness to eat the puck, take it behind the net, battle on the boards, etc. essentially the 'live to fight another day' approach. that has been working well for him in his own zone. seeing him revert back to the gunslinger type mentality with that play was tough.
however, it was just one play, and overall i think he had a good game. really more than anything, i think it was an example of one of the things he needs to work on. not an indictment of the quality of play he has brought.