(CBS Sports) – Reilly Smith scored his first goal of the season during Tuesday’s loss to Pittsburgh. The 25-year-old winger has put together a solid three-year run and is coming off a 25-goal, 25-assist campaign in his first year with the Panthers. Smith has started slowly and collected just one goal and one helper through six games thus far.
I can confidently say tonight is the showdown that globally hockey fans have had circled on their calendars since the NHL released the 2016-2017 season schedule.
Not Laine vs Matthews. Not Sid vs. Ovi. It’s Smith vs Hayes.
Back when Peter Chiarelli was the Bruins general manager he happily did his usual thing of overpaying by handing Reilly Smith an extension that wasn’t even necessary at the time. After getting that extension Smith scored exactly 1 goal for the B’s for the rest of the season. After getting traded to Florida for Hayes and potting a nice 25-goals last year (Hayes grabbed 19 down there the season before becoming a Bruin) Smith got himself an even more ridiculous extension than the one Chiarelli gave him; 5-years at $5 million-per. He’s scored exactly 1 goal since as well. And of course Jimmy Hayes is right on his heels with 0 goals this year. I know it’s a long season, and Reilly Smith is definitely the better player, but something has to give tonight.
Will Jimmy Hayes explode for a goal and even the scoring race? Will Reilly Smith absolutely go off and double his goal scoring output in just one game? The hockey world patiently awaits for the fireworks tonight.