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Inside the Senate
 

Smith taking on a greater role

Young centre getting top 6 ice time
Wednesday, 06.02.2013 / 4:13 PM
By Chris Lund - OttawaSenators.com / Inside the Senate Blog
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Inside the Senate Blog
Smith taking on a greater role

Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

When Zack Smith was bumped up to the second line on Tuesday, it presented an interesting opportunity for the young centre. Not only would he have a chance to see increased ice time, but also be able to play with more pace and creativity alongside Milan Michalek and Jakob Silfverberg.

The experiment appeared to be positive as the line clicked off the bat and played with good speed throughout Tuesday's win. Smith credits much of that chemistry to the skillset of his new linemates.

"Playing with two very skilled players, it's a very different style of game from playing with (Chris) Neil and Colin (Greening). We had some good shifts. We didn't capitalise on any but I thought we had some good chances."

The line's play on Tuesday would certainly lead you to believe that it's just a matter of time before Smith pots his first goal of the season. Through 10 games this season the 24 year old has four assists.

"I'm trying everything. It's definitely something you think about all the time. Maybe just gripping my stick a little tight right now. I'm getting opportunities and chances but they're just not going in," said Smith. "I've gone through it before too but I think as long as you're playing well and getting chances you can't be too upset. There are other parts of my game I can contribute with."

Smith has been a consistent contributor from the outset this season, bringing good energy to whatever line he is playing on. He has added more speed and fluidity to his game this season, and much of that can be attributed to extensive work in the offseason on his skating.

"Everyone — scouts — have told me since midget that I need to improve my skating. Every year I come to camp I feel better and stronger. Confidence is a big thing too. When you're confident, you're always skating well, you're moving your feet. I'm feeling more comfortable out there and it's having an effect on my skating too."

As he continues to generate chances and muck in the tough areas of the rink, it's only a matter of time before Smith removes the monkey from his back. Once that goal is scored, and Smith's stick doesn't rest in so firm a grasp, you can be sure the best is on its way.

Follow Zack on Twitter here.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
3 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
4 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
5 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
6 OTT 61 27 23 11 173 166 65
7 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
8 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Karlsson 61 15 33 2 48
B. Ryan 57 16 31 10 47
K. Turris 61 15 28 -5 43
M. Hoffman 58 23 17 25 40
M. Stone 59 15 24 10 39
M. Zibanejad 59 16 18 4 34
C. MacArthur 53 13 13 -10 26
M. Michalek 56 11 14 -2 25
D. Legwand 59 8 14 -4 22
A. Chiasson 55 9 12 -8 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Anderson 13 11 7 .927 2.37
R. Lehner 9 12 3 .905 3.02