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Big Hit Knocks Reilly Smith From Game, Being Evaluated



Reilly Smith

Pittsburgh Penguins left winger Reilly Smith left Thursday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks because of an injury and is being evaluated, according to coach Mike Sullivan.

In the first period of what became a 4-3 overtime loss, Smith took a big hit from 6-foot-6, 248-pound Vancouver defenseman Nikita Zadorov along the boards. He spent a few minutes in obvious pain on the bench before retreating to the locker room.

He returned briefly, but eventually the Penguins announced that he would not return. Sullivan indicated postgame that Smith is dealing with an upper-body injury.

Smith got off to a strong start this season. He had six goals, 11 points in the first 10 games and seemed to have good chemistry with center Evgeni Makin on the second line.

His offense fell off and he struggled off and on. He had no points in the five games previous to Thursday’s game.

That led to the Penguins last week demoting him to the third line, switching his spot with that of Drew O’Connor, who has moved up to play alongside Malkin.

Smith, 32, came to the Penguins in a trade last summer just a couple weeks after he won the Stanley Cup with the Vegas Golden Knights. Overall this season, he has eight goals, 20 points in his first season with the Penguins. He has reached the 20-goal mark five times in his career.