March 8th, 2012. That is the last time Ottawa Senators centre Zack Smith last celebrated a goal of his own. Nearly a full calendar year since he last bulged the twine, a period of 43 regular season and playoff games. The same Zack Smith who had what everyone thought was a breakout start to 2011-12 and then tailed off badly to finish with just 14 goals.
Now, granted, his offensive woes has not hurt his defensive game, as he has often been matched up against the opposition’s top forwards, and don’t forget he is playing alongside Chris Neil and Dave Dziurzynski, not exactly names expected to burn out the red light behind opposing goalies.
During the recent sweep of their 4 game homestand, Smith was not on for one of the 7 goals against and has only been on the ice for three of the 16 goals the Senators have surrendered since Erik Karlsson‘s injury. As much fluctuation as the Senators’ forward lines have gone through on a game by game basis, the Smith trio has remained intact, and they have been filling their role for the most part.
They just haven’t been filling the net. Smith does have 7 assists this season, but only 2 in the last 12 games, at a time when the Senators need offense from all sources the most.
By the way, the last goal on March 8, 2012, came against the New York Rangers. Ottawa’s opponent this Friday, March 8th, 2013 – the New York Rangers.
Wouldn’t it be poetic for him to end the drought one year to the day that it started, against the same team he last scored on?
I’m calling it.