James O'Brien

James Reimer

Are the Leafs finally primed to ride Reimer?


Want a sign that the Toronto Maple Leafs are truly handing the torch to James Reimer, at least for the moment? Tonight might provide that evidence.

After another sterling Reimer performance boosted the Leafs to a 2-1 shootout win against the Carolina Hurricanes, Mike Babcock was convinced of his earlier notion to give Reimer back-to-back starts.

That’s one of those things that normally happen for workhorse-type No. 1 goalies, right?

Really, how could Toronto deny Reimer, unless tanking truly is the goal?

Look at all of these Reimer stats:

Meanwhile, fair or not, Jonathan Bernier‘s stuck at a 0-7-1 record with poor individual stats.

Will this stick even if Reimer has a hiccup? Maybe, maybe not. So far, he’s taking that decision out of Babcock’s hands.

Canadiens carve out win in Price’s return

Carey Price
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Sure, there were signs of rust here and there, but Carey Price is back.

The Montreal Canadiens are back on the winning track, too, edging the New York Islanders 5-3 after dropping a loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.

It’s the fifth straight win for Montreal against the Isles, with Price making 31 out of 34 stops. He easily cleared the bar of merely being better than Jaroslav Halak tonight, as Price’s former crease-mate was pulled after just one period.

(Price also showed some snarl, which was needed as players such as Brock Nelson tried to invade his crease.)

While Price is the obvious headliner, supporting cast members were the other big story of this one. Jeff Petry stood out, in particular, managing his first career two-goal game.

This win leaves Montreal alone atop the East, with only Dallas ahead of the Habs based on tie-breakers, as the two teams both own 32 standings points.

Bob and Blue Jackets hang tough, heat up in November


Big tests are a real pain … but they can be a blessing in disguise when you pass them with flying colors.

Let’s set the stage for Sergei Bobrovsky and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

  • Early in the game, they generate a 2-0 and then 3-0 lead.
  • The universe can’t have Columbus getting too comfortable, however, so the Blue Jackets suffer two jarring injuries to their defense.
  • With that, the Blue Jackets were down to four defensemen, with a healthy lead, against a Nashville Predators team that can score in buckets.

Sounds like a scary challenge for Bob in particular, right?

It was, at times, but he was game to the task. Remarkably, he didn’t allow a single goal as the Blue Jackets won 4-0.

As you can see from this chart from Natural Stat Trick, the Predators really poured it on as the game went on.


All of a sudden, the Blue Jackets aren’t just spoiler material. They’re now a beast that’s starting to sniff possible playoff hopes.

Just look at their work in November alone.

They’ve won six of nine games, including four of their last five. Bobrovsky’s on a four-game winning streak himself.

Yes, Columbus dug itself a big hole, but isn’t this team scarier when it’s facing longer odds?

Flames roll without Hudler (illness) on Friday

Jiri Hudler

The Calgary Flames are facing the Chicago Blackhawks without go-to veteran forward Jiri Hudler on Friday.

The team announced that he’s absent from tonight’s game because of an illness. There weren’t many details regarding his condition beyond that, including whether he’s likely to miss additional time beyond this contest.

The 31-year-old’s a solid winger for Calgary, although he has been a little quiet lately, being held to an assist in his past four games.

Habs chase Halak after one period


Carey Price probably was crossing his fingers that tonight’s game in Brooklyn would be low-scoring, but he’s not the goalie who was regretting the pace the most through one period.

Instead, that was New York Islanders netminder Jaroslav Halak, as he only made it through the opening frame. The Montreal Canadiens built a 3-1 lead through the first 20 minutes (it’s now 3-2), and that was enough for Jack Capuano to give him the hook.

This is subjective, of course, but the first two goals seemed the most bothersome. Check them out above (the first goal) and below (the second).