In the seventh round of the shootout in Tampa on Saturday night, the Bruins forward scored the only goal to put his team on top, 4-3, over the Lightning. It was the only time they led all game.
"I went through a different number of players and then sometimes - I say it many times - you get that gut feeling and I said, 'you know what, this is probably a good chance for Smitty to get himself going,'" said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien.
"And I even told one of my assistant coaches [Doug Houda], it's going to end here, and he scored a big goal for us. So, hopefully that's a lot of weight off his shoulders and hopefully he can start finding his stride again."
"Yeah, it's been a while," said Smith, who found the back of the net for the first time in 11 games. "At the end of the day, it's good to just help the team get an extra point on that."
Rask played his part, too, not letting a single goal past in the shootout.
"My record, I don't think it's the greatest in the shootouts, but I had good patience and had good looks on them," said the netminder. "A couple times I got lucky…but sometimes you've got to be lucky to be good, right?"
The extra point gave the Bruins a 7-0-3 record in their past 10 road games, tying the fifth longest point stretch on the road in franchise history.
They didn't have the best start, recording their first shot on goal with just over six minutes left in the first, but they had a surge on a late power play, and the game still remained scoreless heading to the second.
"You know, it's not that much that [our game] wasn't there," said Smith. "I think they did a good job. You've got give them respect for how they came out tonight. They were pretty fast they, were on our D's quick and they were pitching a lot so they played well."
"We didn't do a great job getting pucks behind their D and influencing our style of play on them so I think that was the one thing we kind of focused on in the second and third period to try and turn momentum around."
Boston fell down 2-0 in a five-goal second period, with the first from Tampa Bay coming shorthanded on a breakdown, and the second coming on a drive from the high slot that hit a skate and trickled through with Rask screened.
"I think when you look at the goals, every goal they scored, from our standards, were mistakes," said Julien.
But the Bruins found their rhythm, and answered back, with Daniel Paille and Carl Soderberg scoring 1:31 apart to knot the game at 2-2 before the midpoint of the second.
"We are really good at responding in those situations, but we don't want to put ourselves in those situations," said Soderberg. "We want to have a lead but still we know we're a really strong team when we get behind the other team, so we'll always come back."
Soderberg scored his 11th of the season on the breakaway, making a move to his backhand and slipping it five-hole on Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop. It came after linemates Loui Eriksson and Chris Kelly worked hard on the backcheck to turn the puck over and feed their centerman up ice just before the blueline.
"They're playing well, they're reading off each other well, they're working hard, they're pushing pucks forward and not being overly cute," said Julien. "And because of that, they're getting some success there."
"I thought our first two lines got a little too fancy tonight, really forcing passes in the offensive zone where they should have just directed those towards the net. Because of that, there was a lot of turnovers or forced passes would end up on their stick and they went back on the attack against us."
Valtteri Filppula would give the Bolts a 3-2 lead just 1:02 after Soderberg's tally, when a missed assignment by the Bruins off the faceoff left him wide open in front. But the Black & Gold didn't lose momentum.
"It was just about coming out in the third and really pushing to get that next goal and that's what we did," said Julien.
The Bruins could have had their tying goal at 6:05 into the third on the power play, with Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron jamming the puck through. Both celebrated afterwards, expecting it to be the equalizer, but it was never called a goal on the ice.
It was deemed that the puck entered the net, but the referee had lost sight of the puck and was in the process of blowing his whistle to stop the play before it crossed the line. According to NHL rules, it is not a reviewable play, causing the "no goal" call on the ice to stand.
While it was a tough break, the Bruins never let their guard down. The third had been trending their way, anyways.
Two minutes following the non-goal, and after a strong forecheck from Kelly-Soderberg-Eriksson, Johnny Boychuk blasted one past Bishop to make it a 3-3 game.
"Yeah, you could feel the energy after that disallowed goal. We just wanted to get back out there and get back into it and try to get that next one to tie it up," said Boychuk. "You know, the way we did."
"He played a solid game for us tonight, and that's a big goal that he scored for us," said Julien, of Boychuk. "We need that from those guys. We've got Zdeno and we've got Johnny who are experienced D, with more than a year under their belt, and so we need those kind of effort from those guys, so it's nice for him to play that kind of a game."
Boston outshot the Lightning 13-4 in the final frame (along with a handful of posts and missed shots), and 4-2 in overtime, before Smith scored in the seventh round of the shootout.
"We played a really great third period so it was just enough time," said Soderberg. "I think we maybe deserved more than one goal but we're happy with the win."
Two points, are two points.
"We battled hard," said Julien. "And I thought it was a good character win."