Smith was living out a dream while playing in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals on Monday.
Smith was alerted following the team’s warm-ups Monday night he would be replacing Marian Hossa, who suffered an upper-body injury, in the lineup. Smith hadn’t appeared in the team’s first 19 playoff games this season and had seen action in just the team’s final regular-season game.
After playing 13 shifts and seeing 10:23 of ice time in the Blackhawks’ 2-0 loss to the Bruins on Monday, Smith had his regrets, but overall he was just thrilled to play in first Stanley Cup finals game.
“Obviously, you always want to be better,” said Smith, who had one shot on goal, one giveaway and two blocked shots. “You want to make a bigger impact. But I was just having a blast out there. It was intense. The building, it was a great atmosphere. It was a lot of fun for me. I wish it was a win for us.”
What did help Smith get through Monday’s experience was having played in the playoffs and even having had some playoff success before with the Blackhawks. In the 2010-11 season, he played in just six regular-season games, but was called upon in the playoffs to step into the lineup, and he produced three goals in seven games.
Smith turned to those 2011 playoff memories before Monday’s game.
“Drawing from experience helped,” Smith said. “I’ve played in the playoffs before, not in the final. Playing in the playoffs, drawing from that experience helped. Just having the confidence in what I can bring and hoping I could help the team there.”
Boston also happened to be home for Smith for two years as he played for Boston College from 2006-08. His family also lives in Connecticut, and he spent time with his mother while the team has been in Boston.
“It was nice being in Boston and being back home to see some [people],” Smith said. “I was actually with my mom for a bit. It’s nice to be back close to home in Connecticut. ... But it’s obviously a business trip, and we’re trying to win a game.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville thought Smith handled a difficult situation well on Monday.
“Benny gives us energy,” Quenneville said. “He’s one of those players offensively, defensively, he’s responsible. He’s been practicing hard. You lose a guy like Hoss, you’re looking to fill a little bit of skill for us as well.”