Mike Smith has established himself as a playoff contender one game into the playoffs, but there is a long way to go. Smith recorded a 4-0 shutout and an assist in game one. Smith’s 26 save effort has earned him the starting spot for game two.
However his age of 37 and the short rests between games must be taken into consideration. David Rittich, 26, has been a great goaltender on the road this season boasting a 14-7-1 record when out of town. Also while on the road Rittich held a 2.08 GAA and a .932 Sv%.
David Rittich most likely gets the first game in Colorado as a break for Smith and a test to see how much use we can get out of him in the playoffs. In the event of Smith playing another phenomenal game we could likely see Rittich slide back to game four of the series to keep on the Mike Smith hot streak.
Playing Rittich after a strong showing by Smith likely causes Rittich to perform at an elite level to prove that he can also hold the starting position during the playoffs. If that happens then Smith likely comes back even stronger than before in his next start.
The Calgary Flames have been dealt a winning hand in net this postseason as long as Head Coach Bill Peters and his coaching staff manage it in a strategic way.