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Smith sits out practice after rough tilt against Anaheim but will start between pipes Wednesday against Kings

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson / calgaryflames.com

SMITH - 10.10.17

Smith is ready to play on Wednesday in LA

Smith is ready to play on Wednesday in LA

  • 02:57 •

LOS ANGELES - When the Flames hit the ice at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo on Tuesday afternoon for practice, they were missing one key player.

Mike Smith.

"It was a maintenance day for Smitty. He'll skate in the morning tomorrow and he'll be going tomorrow night," head coach Glen Gulutzan confirmed, relieving any worries the netminder had been injured in Monday's 2-0 win in Anaheim.

In the final minute of the game, a pile-up in Smith's crease led to the netminder laid out on his back with a pack of players jammed in front of him. Flames athletic therapist Kent Kobelka came on the ice to chat with Smith but he remained in to finish off the game, collecting his 34th career shutout.

"Tough game - it was a maintenance day for me, just to get the mind right and get ready for tomorrow," Smith said.

"There's always little bumps and bruises coming out of every game but nothing that is going to keep me out of the lineup."

Smith was superb in the Flames' first regular-season victory at the Honda Center since Jan. 19, 2004, turning aside 43 shots in the group's first stop of their two-game road swing. He was poised throughout the night, making saves on prime scoring opportunities look easy, but was quick to deflect any sort of praise to his teammates.

"They're a tough team, especially in their building obviously," he said. "They've got some big bodies, put a lot of pucks and people to the net. But I thought our guys did a great job in front of me though.

"There was a ton of blocked shots and not a lot of second opportunities. To get a shutout in this league, a lot of things have to happen and a lot of credit has to go to the guys in front of you, too … shutouts aren't easy to come by. They're more of the way the team plays, more than just the goalie.

"It says a lot about our group, the way we kind of responded in … an arena that there hasn't been a lot of success in, in the past. Hopefully in the future we can continue to build on it."

Smith has had to be sharp in his first three regular-season tilts with the Flames, making 110 saves on the 115 shots he has faced. He has posted a 2-1-0 record with a 1.68 GAA and a .957 save percentage in the first handful of games this year.

"I've said it all along - it doesn't matter if there's 20 or 40 (shots)," he stated. "My job is the same: to stabilize the group and to make the saves the team relies on you to make. I've been used to it in the past, I'm no stranger to it, so when it happens, I'm somewhat used to it. But we'd like to bring that number down if possible and just build on that win."

Gulutzan has been impressed with his netminder's performance thus far and not surprised at how quickly he has settled in.

"I've seen it lots over the last seven years in the league - he's very competitive," he said. "I've watched him put on some brilliant performances.

"Brad (Trevling) certainly knew the goalie he was getting. From my perspective, he was always a big challenge to play against and thought of as one of the top goaltenders. I think he's an elite goalie."   

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