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Get to Know a Bruin: Craig Smith

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As part of the build-up to the first-round playoff series between the Capitals and the Bruins, Japers’ Rink will be looking at some of the important B’s players and how they might impact the series.

New York Rangers v Boston Bruins Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

Craig Smith

#12 / Center

Height: 6’1” | Weight: 208 | Born: September 5, 1989

Birthplace: Madison, WI | Acquired: Signed as a free agent, October 2020


Assets: Has excellent skating ability, so he can be used in a variety of game situations. Also owns a good-sized frame (6-1, 208 pounds) and some versatility.

Flaws: Lacks game-to-game consistency, so he needs to become a more intense performer night in and night out. Also needs more work in his defense.

Career Potential: Quick, talented but inconsistent forward.

(Via TSN)

Why You Should Know Who He Is: Wrapping up his first season in Boston after nine in Nashville (primarily under coaches Trotz and Laviolette), Smith is fifth on the Bruins in scoring with 13 goals and 19 assists and providing a second-line scoring threat with David Krejci that has only been bolstered with the arrival of Taylor Hall. To wit, in 180 minutes of five-on-five hockey, the trio has posted an absurd 67.7 expected goals-for (xGF) percentage, and an even more absurd 92.9 actual goals-for percentage, outscoring opponents 13-to-1. Visually, that kind of domination looks like this:

Oof.

In seven games against the Caps this season, Smith put up three goals and four assists, with two of those goals coming on the power play.

How the Caps Can Stop Him: Strange as it sounds, the Caps need to keep doing whatever it is they’re doing against Smith, who has only managed a 46.8 Corsi-for percentage and 40.7 xGF%. Granted, the Bruins have outscored the Caps 5-2 with Smith on the ice at even-strength, but the process has been good. On a lot of teams, a line like Smith, Krecji and Hall would command an opponent’s full attention, but Boston has another trio you might have heard of. It will be critically important for Peter Laviolette to figure out who his best match-up is against this line and make sure they’re out there as much as possible. Because the way Smith and his linemates have been playing, they’re likely to make you pay for any mistakes you make.