Brian Burke continues to show faith in the goaltending duo of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens.
On Wednesday — roughly 48 hours after voicing support for Reimer as his No. 1 — the Leafs GM inked Scrivens to a two-year contract extension.
The deal means the young pair (Scrivens is 26, Reimer 24) will be with the club through the 2014 season.
An undrafted free agent signed by Toronto in 2010, Scrivens made his mark last season in the AHL by posting a 22-15-1 record with four shutouts and a league-best 2.04 GAA.
He backstopped the Marlies to a Calder Cup finals appearance and won the Harry “Hap” Holmes Award for allowing the fewest goals during the regular season.
Though Scrivens’ NHL experience is limited — just 12 career appearances — he could be in line for an increase this season.
Reimer struggled through a tough sophomore campaign in 2011-12, posting a 14-14-4 record with a 3.10 GAA while missing a significant amount of time with a neck injury (reportedly whiplash.)
It’s also clear the Leafs think highly of Scrivens — at least enough that they were comfortable parting ways with Jonas Gustavsson, who was traded to Winnipeg at the draft.
UPDATE: According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Scrivens’ deal is a two-way contract in the first year, one-way in the second. It pays $1.2 million over two seasons for an average annual cap hit of $612,500.
Well, that was quite a third period.
For the Boston Bruins, it was disastrous. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it propelled them to a critical victory in the playoff race.
Nikita Kucherov completed the hat trick with a pair of goals in the final period and Jonathan Drouin scored what would eventually be the winner, as Tampa Bay snapped its own three-game losing streak in a 6-3 victory, putting the Bolts within three points of the final wild card spot — held by the Bruins — in the Eastern Conference.
The Drouin goal — his 18th of the season but first since Feb. 19, a span of 13 games — is probably one Tuukka Rask would like back.
Drouin teed up the slap shot from the faceoff circle, beating Rask under the left arm.
And just like that, the Bruins have lost four consecutive games. On Saturday, they face the New York Islanders, another team looking to catch Boston in the wild card race.
Read more: Remember this stretch if Bruins settle for a wild card spot (or worse?)
The Islanders are only two points back of Boston.
Despite the win, there was bad news for the Lightning during this game, as defenseman Jason Garrison left with an injury.
The play occurred behind the Lightning goal, Garrison appearing to get his left leg rolled up from behind by a Bruin. Garrison had to be helped off the ice by Anton Stralman and Brayden Point and headed back to the Bolts’ locker room.
The team announced during the second intermission that Garrison sustained a lower-body injury. He did not return to the game.
As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.
On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.
He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.
From CSN Mid-Atlantic:
The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.
Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.
He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.
The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.
There was no call on the play.
Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.
Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.
Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.
That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus: