PHILADELPHIA - After 20 minutes, Mike Smith knew it was time to pack it in.
The netminder left Monday's match-up against the St. Louis Blues after the first period with an upper body injury, a malady that would keep him out of Wednesday's game in Detroit, as well.
"It got to the point in the game where … I didn't want it to effect the way I was playing or anything," Smith explained following Friday's skate at the Wells Fargo Center. "Fortunately we were able to get a big win (on Monday). Eddie came in and played well in relief. You never want to come out of a game, obviously, you never want to miss a game because of injury, but I just didn't want it to last longer than it needed to.
"It needed to happen and I feel better because of it now."
The decision to leave the game when he did and take a few days to recover has paid off. Smith will be ready to play on Saturday morning when the Flames battle the Flyers at 11:00 a.m. MT (TV: Sportsnet One; Radio: Sportsnet 960 The FAN).
"Throughout the season, there's going to be minor issues and I think that was an instance where I didn't want it to fester and make it into something more than it had to be. I think it was important, and I've been through it (before) in my career, where if you do let it get the best of you, you can extend the injury for a longer period of time. I didn't want that to be the case. It is what it is.
"I just kind of wanted to nip it in the bud and not let it drag on for more than it needed to be.
"I feel good now. I had a couple of days of rest and got some good treatment and I'll be ready to go for tomorrow."
Missing game action is frustrating in its own right but the inability to help his team in a tough loss to the Red Wings made Wednesday evening even more trying for Smith. On the first stop on their six-game road swing, the Flames dropped an 8-2 decision at the Little Caesars Arena.
"I missed the first period, I was flying to Philly, but I was keeping tabs on it on my phone. Obviously, as an athlete and a professional, you want to be in games like that. You want to be a part of games like that, battle with the group.
"Unfortunately I wasn't able to take part in that but it was one that we will take a lot of things out of and learn a lot from and move on. There's definitely things we want to clean up in our game, we've talked about it."