Reimer’s 49 saves powers Leafs win vs. Caps

1 Comment

James Reimer carried the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 2-1 shootout win against the Washington Capitals on Saturday, stopping 49 out of 50 shots.

As TSN’s Jonas Siegel points out, tonight’s game bumps Reimer’s save percentage to .947 on the season, which leads the NHL at the moment. The 25-year-old is now 6-2-0 on the season, as he’s in the midst of an intriguing contract year.

Alex Ovechkin was the only Capitals player who could find the net, scoring his 20th goal of 2013-14 while firing six shots on Reimer. The 28-year-old has been the only Washington skater able to score a goal in the last three games – he had one tonight, two in the Caps’ previous game and none as the Caps were shut out on Nov. 20 – so it’s no surprise that the Caps are on a three-game losing streak.

(Hot take: they need more secondary scoring.)

The Maple Leafs have won three of their last four games thanks to brilliant goaltending from Reimer and Jonathan Bernier. Some might say it’s a faulty formula, but the Buds aren’t complaining. Tonight, at least.

Panarin impresses ‘Hawks with his preseason debut

Artemi Panarin
AP Photo

Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.

Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.

“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.

The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.

Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
AP Photo
Leave a comment

There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.