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Devils Brendan Smith had Gordie Howe Hat Trick in Mind at Stadium Series

Smith came up short of a fight on Saturday against the Flyers in the 2024 NHL Stadium Series in rare game with a goal and an assist.



New Jersey Devils

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Competing in his fifth outdoor game in his career, New Jersey Devils hybrid Brendan Smith came up big in their 6-3 victory on Saturday.

Smith registered a goal and an assist in front of 70,000-plus fans at MetLife Stadium in the Devils’ Stadium Series bout with the Philadelphia Flyers. Despite being a major contributor to the win, the veteran pointed the attention back to the team effort.

“I still have to kind of think about it,” Smith beamed. “When I see my family and kind of break it down later, that’ll be a good moment. But, right now it’s just exciting to get the two points. The individual stats I’ll think about a little bit later with the family. It’s just exciting to win with the boys, see the smiles, and to see the performances a lot of guys (had) in this room.”

Being the veteran that he is, Smith made a note to mention the Devils’ formidable opponent, too.

“(The Flyers) brought it,” Smith continued. “They were chippy, they were hard, and they were crashing the net. It was a good all-around game.”

Smith didn’t just register a momentum-swinging goal and primary assist in crucial moments of the game. He asserted himself as part of the chippiness by adding three hits to the stat sheet and getting under the skin of the Flyers between whistles.

One of the more notable Flyers he irritated is Philly forward Travis Konecny whom Smith has a history with this season. Back in November, Konecny was fined $5,000 by the Department of Player Safety for a cross-check delivered to Smith. However, Smith was suspended for two games as a result of a retaliatory slash.

Fast forward to over the weekend, Smith reminded Konecny whose yard he was in. He gave the Flyers forward a few bumps here and there, perhaps even if the officials weren’t looking. When asked if he was thinking about finishing the Gordie Howe hat trick (a goal, assist, and a fight) on Saturday night, Smith admitted it crossed his mind.

“I thought about it, yeah,” Smith said with a smirk. “I don’t have one in my career. It’s weird, I can’t get a goal and an assist (in the same game). I think after that I was kind of welcoming it. But 5-3, you got to be kind of smart because you don’t want to give any momentum. So that’s a tricky thing. I think late when it’s 6-3, it’s kind of just goofy. But if anything were to happen, I wasn’t opposed to it.”

Smith became the third defenseman, age 35 or older, with a multi-point outing in an outdoor game, according to NHL PR. He didn’t register the fight to complete the Gordie Howe hat trick, but the Devils do have 29 games remaining this season. Even spicier? The Devils take on the Flyers one more time this season at the Wells Fargo Center at the end of April. Depending on how the remainder of the season plays out, the game could have serious playoff implications. Perhaps, that’s a date circled on the calendar by the Devils veteran.

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