A total of 15 goals were scored in Game 1 between the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames in what was a game both team's goaltenders will surely want to forget. Oilers netminder Mike Smith was removed after just six minutes on the ice, having surrendered three early goals to put the Oilers in a major deficit in the first period. Mikko Koskinen didn't fare much better after coming on to replace Smith, and now the team has made its decision as to who will be starting for Game 2.
Mike Smith will be starting Game 2. #Oilers
— Tony Brar (@TonyBrarOTV) May 19, 2022
Via Tony Brar, the Oilers will once again deploy Mike Smith in the cage for Game 2, despite his lackluster performance in the series-opening loss. In all reality, this can't have been a very difficult decision for Jay Woodcroft, Koskinen got his chance on Wednesday and surrendered five goals, making a total of 32 saves, good for a lowly .865 save percentage.
Based on Smith's sharp performance throughout most of the first round, he seemed the obvious choice to return to protect the net in Game 2, especially considering the nature of some of the early goals scored against him. It's hard to blame him for surrendering a goal on a puck that was turned over right in the slot. Edmonton's defense was lackluster on Wednesday, which certainly played a role in Smith's struggles.
The veteran Smith may be on a short leash for Friday's game after the onslaught that occurred on Wednesday in Game 1, but he's earned the right to get another opportunity for a bounce-back performance as he looks to help the Oilers even the series in the Battle of Alberta.