This hasn’t been a banner year for James Reimer.
Until Monday night, that is.
Reimer, who came into tonight’s action with a .876 save percentage and 3.24 GAA, stopped 43 of 44 shots to give the Leafs a 4-1 win over the red-hot Dallas Stars.
It was a terrific effort, and the kind of goaltending that’s eluded Toronto of late. The Leafs came into tonight’s action have surrendered 16 goals in their last four games, and this marked the club’s first 40-plus-save effort of the year.
But tonight wasn’t just about Reimer.
The Leafs scored four goals for just the third time this season, and the first time in six games. Joffrey Lupul led the way with a pair of goals — including the game-winner just 21 seconds into the middle frame — while Morgan Reilly and Brad Boyes both finished with multi-point efforts.
Dallas responded with a goal from Jamie Benn, his NHL-best 10th of the year. Having come into tonight with wins in eight of their last nine — and firing 44 shots at a very in-form goalie — the Stars will lament the loss, but won’t be too broken up about it.
Toronto, meanwhile, will be elated with the result
Tonight’s win was just the Leafs’ second of the season and, ergo, just the second of the Mike Babcock era. It was a much-needed victory; prior to, Babcock gave a pretty sobering analysis of where his team was at.
“We’re at the 10-game mark. We’ve won one game,” he said, per the Star. “We’ve been in lots of games. There’s been three games I felt that they are un-Leaf-like. Maybe they are Leaf-like, but that’s not what we’re going to get used to.
“We’ve got to be way better.”
For one night, anyway, the Maple Leafs were.