MONTREAL -- Bruins forward Reilly Smith has already experienced a lot of firsts in his NHL career. When the puck drops Thursday night against the Montreal Canadiens, this will be his first time playing at Bell Centre.
In fact, he’s the only Bruins player not to have played a game here.
“It should be pretty exciting,” Smith said. “I’ve never played in Montreal but have heard great things about the arena and the fans. They’re playing well right now and that’s the biggest factor. It’s a big game and there’s a lot on the line. It should be fun.”
When the Bruins played the Canadiens at Bell Centre during the preseason, Smith did not play that game. He expects it to be loud and has been told by his teammates how emotional it will be, but Bruins coach Claude Julien expects the 22-year-old forward to handle it well.
“He acts like a guy who’s been around forever,” Julien said. “He’s very calm and doesn’t let those kinds of things get to him. He’s the only guy on our team who hasn’t played here, but I don’t think it will affect him. He’s such a cool competitor, a cool individual, and he just goes out there and plays. I think it’s going to be fun and exciting for him to play here for the first time.”
Overall, Smith has played well in his first season with the Bruins. He has five goals and 12 assists for 17 points, including a plus-3 rating in 27 games.