Entering his second season with the Edmonton Oilers, Mike Smith is back from injury. Smith originally suffered an undisclosed injury before he was able to play a game this season.
The 38 year old was out for a month before he was able to get back on the ice in Ottawa. In his two games back, Smith faced 66 shots with only one of them making it past him. It’s a small sample size but he currently leads the NHL in goals against average and save percentage.
Smith is likely to go again tonight against the Jets. As for him and Mikko Koskinen, we do not know who will play more. Last year Smith started 37 games while Koskinen started 34 in the regular season. Koskinen played in every playoff game including when he came in relief of Smith in their final game.
Before the pause in March 2020, Smith went 9-3-3 in his last 15 games. Fresh off recovery, Mike Smith is only strengthening the theory that goalies tend to do well after coming back from injury. The Oilers will likely ride the hot hand for the time being just as most teams do with a tandem likely until Mike Smith loses a game.
In the North Division, it is a tight race for the 3rd and 4th spot. Koskinen helped get them there. He might have won only half of his games but he’s faced over 30 shots more often than not. We now have a chance to see how Mike Smith will lead the Oilers through this challenging Canadien division. After we get a greater sample size this year, we will be able to see who really should start for the Oilers if they make the playoffs.