BOSTON — Chicago’s Ben Smith didn’t expect to be playing in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. The young forward wasn’t even in warm-ups before tonight’s game.
In fact, the Boston College grad and Connecticut native spent the day about as relaxed as a player in hockey’s biggest series could.
“Being in Boston it was nice. I was actually with my mom this afternoon for a bit [for lunch],” Smith said. “It’s nice being close to home, but it’s a business trip here and we’re trying to win some games.”
After warm-ups concluded, however, Smith got the call to start tonight’s game in place of Marian Hossa.
What made the insertion of Smith into the lineup even stranger was the fact Jamal Mayers took warmups and still wound up a scratch. Smith was happy to get a shot.
“I was just told after warm-ups I was in and it was kind of a scramble to get ready and get warm. That’s kinda been the whole thing this whole seven, eight weeks. They tell us to stay ready and you never know when your opportunity is going to come. It happened tonight.”
Even though Chicago was shut out in Game 3 2-0, for Smith it’s the highlight of his season.
“It was kind of a wild night. I’m just obviously grateful to be a part of it to get an opportunity. Just wish we could’ve gotten a win.”
They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.
The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.
In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.
The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.
Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.
The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).
McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.
It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.
Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.
Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.
“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”
Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: