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Smith excited to face brother in playoffs

Defenseman will be first Wings player to play against his brother in postseason

Tuesday, 04.15.2014 / 3:06 PM ET / News
By Andrea Nelson  - Editorial Assistant | DetroitRedWings.com
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Smith excited to face brother in playoffs
Friday will be the seventh time that the Smith brothers have faced-off as NHL opponents. Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith leads the family series, 4-2-0, over his younger brother. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT - When Brendan and Reilly Smith used to face off in a seven-game series in their childhood basement, the only thing that was ever really at stake was their pride.

“Pride – I mean more than anything, I couldn’t let him beat me as my little brother and if he beat me it was quite a joy so I mean that’s just how we are, brothers,” Brendan said. “We would play a seven-game series but never got to seven games because there would be fighting or somebody got hurt and parents would have to call it quits.”

When the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins meet Friday in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, much more than pride will be on the line between Brendan, a Wings defenseman, and Reilly, a forward for the Bruins.

The game will mark the seventh time the brothers have played against each other in the NHL, with Brendan holding a 4-2 advantage over Reilly. But those regular season games pale in comparison to the importance of the upcoming playoff series.

“Just the regular season games would have been the biggest thing I’ve ever played against him so obviously this amps it up even more,” Brendan said. “It’s definitely a whole different bird with this kind of series.”

And one he has been looking forward to since the Eastern Conference pairing was determined. When Brendan takes the ice opposite Reilly Friday, the defenseman will become the first Wings player to ever play against his brother in a Stanley Cup playoff game.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Brendan said. “I guess it would be his first playoff game and I heard that he’s pretty jacked up, he’s told me a few times and just to play a playoff series in general is exciting and it’s really exciting that I’m going to be playing against my little brother.”

It’s no surprise that Brendan knows exactly how excited his younger brother is, as the two talk on the phone every day. The hockey brothers watch as many of each other’s highlights and games as possible, often asking questions, offering advice and bouncing around ideas, even as the playoff heat increases.

“We’ll go over things what we thought that we could do better with or even give compliments to each other and boost each other up so that’s something that’s been really good for us and that’s something that we’ll continue to do but like I said it will probably be a little less talk now as it is now playoff series but, not in the sense that, we’ll talk in the same amount but probably less about hockey and stuff like that.”

But Reilly will also try to get a little inside information out of his older brother.

“He’s always asking, ‘Will Zetterberg be back?’ and stuff like that but yeah we talk a little bit and it’s pretty cool to have this happen in my life and my family’s life,” Smith said.

Deidre and Lester Smith will travel to Boston and Detroit for the first four games of the series, and Brendan hopes to see his older brother Rory in the crowd as well. The family will also get together for dinner throughout the series, where the two brothers may discover exactly what their parents plan on wearing to support both of their sons.

“Maybe B’s in Boston and reds here, I’m not sure how they’re going to do it,” Brendan said. “I really don’t know, I’m not going to ask her or speculate on anything. I don’t know, it’ll be interesting, I’m actually just as interested as you guys are.”

Although Brendan and Reilly will naturally exchange some words about the series, and place a friendly wager over dinner Thursday night, most of their conversations over the next few weeks will avoid the subject of hockey.

“We’ll trash talk a little bit, obviously, we’re brothers,” Brendan said. “So that’s going to happen but a lot of times we try to just be ourselves, be brothers and just hang out and talk about everything else – about how the weather is awful here and whatever, stuff like that. Obviously we talk about hockey but we try to get away from that as much as possible.”

Follow Andrea Nelson on Twitter @Nelson_Andrea

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80