The rookie goalie stopped 32 shots for his third shutout in seven starts while Jussi Jokinen scored a power-play goal early in the third period to lift the Dallas Stars to a 1-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.
"It was a big game for us and a big two points," Smith said. "That's a great team over there.
"They have a lot of firepower."
Smith, who got the start in place of No. 1 goalie Marty Turco, made sliding saves on solid scoring chances by Travis Moen and Todd Marchant in the first five minutes of the third to preserve the shutout.
Turco had taken the loss in Dallas's past three meetings with Anaheim this season. The Ducks held a 13-3 edge in those three games.
Smith, who recently received a two-year contract extension, made his first start since Dec. 14 against the New York Rangers as Stars coach Dave Tippett wanted to throw a change at the Ducks.
"I thought about it (Friday) afternoon and I thought, 'You know what, let's go in this direction,' " Tippett said. "Turco's luck hasn't been good against Anaheim so we decided to switch it up today."
The Stars, 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, now have 68 points - six behind the first-place Ducks in the Pacific Division.
"This was a big win for us," Stars defenceman Philippe Boucher said. "They've been on top all year long.
"Hopefully if we play well we'll get a chance to catch them at the end."
Jokinen used the skills that make him so dangerous in the shootout tiebreaker to break up the scoreless game. Jokinen, who has registered only two goals in his last 20 games, is a career 15-for-21 in shootouts.
With Moen in the penalty box for interference, Dallas' Sergei Zubov connected with Jokinen on a long lead pass. Jokinen skated past two defenders and beat Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere with a nifty move on the forehand at 4:13 for his 11th goal of the season.
"I tried keeping it similar to the shootout," Jokinen said. "(Zubov) is one of the best passers in the league and he sprung me with a great pass."
Dallas stopped all six Anaheim power plays, making the Ducks 0-for-16 with the man advantage in the past four games.
"We have not executed to the level we're capable of, specifically on the power play," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "We need to get more desperate."
Giguere made 20 saves for the slumping Ducks, 3-6-1 in their past 10 games.
The Ducks held a 20-minute post-game meeting.
"Every game is going to be like a playoff game from here on out," Ducks defenceman Chris Pronger said. "Every team we play is going to try to prove something or achieve something against us."
Anaheim tested Smith early, but Smith stopped Andy McDonald on a breakaway 3:30 into the game and made a sliding save to deny Samuel Pahlsson from close range about five minutes later.
Out for the Stars with injuries were forwards Brenden Morrow (wrist), Antti Miettinen (lower body), Steve Ott (ankle) and Matthew Barnaby (concussion).
Notes: The game's only fight broke out 35 seconds after the opening faceoff when Dallas' Krys Barch and Anaheim's Shawn Thornton traded punches. The Ducks lead the league with 54 fights while the Stars have been involved in 27 . . . The Stars were playing the first of rare back-to-back afternoon games. They host the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday . . . The Ducks opened a four-game road trip . . . Dallas C Eric Lindros hasn't scored a goal since Nov. 20 . . . Anaheim D Sean O'Donnell was back in the lineup after missing a game with the flu . . . Giguere had been 14-3 in his previous 18 starts.