PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
James Reimer’s miserable performance against the Capitals was very much noticed and noted by Leafs coach Ron Wilson. (The Globe And Mail)
And if you think the Maple Leafs goaltending isn’t an issue that will be of concern at the deadline, think again. (TSN)
Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman is hurt again and it’s not sounding too good right now. (Tampa Tribune)
Bet you didn’t have Scott Hartnell on your list as “potential 30-goal scorer” heading into this season, did you? Mark it 30, dude. (CSNPhilly.com)
Luke Fox at Sportsnet tells us he thinks that teams honoring numbers rather than retiring them is total crap. (Sportsnet)
The Hurricanes may wind up being the worst shootout team of all time this season. Again. Congrats, guys! (News & Observer)
The Ducks are going to ride Jonas Hiller like a pony. A very well used pony. (OC Register)
Finally, watch Ottawa’s Chris Neil throw a thunderous hit on Boston’s Johnny Boychuk that even hurts us to watch. (NHL)
How do you follow up a a 1-0 shutout victory over Pittsburgh? Well, if your James Reimer, you post a 49-save shutout against the rival Ottawa Senators.
Reimer lost the starting job to Jonas Gustavsson in January, but he’s doing everything in his power to take it back. If anyone is as hot as Reimer right now, it’s Edmonton’s Sam Gagner, who had an unreal eight points on Thursday and already has three points through the first period of Saturday’s game. Barring something unforeseen happening, like Gustavsson starting, Reimer and Gagner will put their hot streaks to the test in Monday’s game between the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs.
How do you stop arguably the hottest team (the Pittsburgh Penguins) and hottest player (Evgeni Malkin) in the NHL? Apparently you just have to call upon a guy who hasn’t played in two weeks.
Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer’s been waiting in the wings since Jan. 17 as Jonas Gustavsson played some of the best hockey of his shaky NHL career, but he’s likely to receive more reps after Wednesday. The Leafs should-be starter stopped all 25 shots as the Maple Leafs halted the Penguins’ eight-game winning streak with a 1-0 decision.
Clarke MacArthur scored the only goal of a rather sleepy game, which closed out a back-to-back set that featured a wild Penguins come-from-behind victory on Tuesday. Toronto is now fairly comfortably placed in seventh place in the East with 58 points in 51 games.
This was a valuable win for Toronto because February represents an early challenge with six of its next eight games coming on the road.
Thin margin of error for Penguins
To some extent, it seemed like it was a matter of time for Pittsburgh, as much of its recent wins came in dramatic fashion lately. Five of the Penguins’ last six victories came via shootout or overtime triumphs, with quite a few coming thanks to late heroics from Malkin.
The Penguins’ next game should be an interesting measuring stick of where they really are right now, as they’ll visit the Bruins in Boston on Saturday.
It was originally supposed to be Jonas Gustavsson’s start tonight against the Bruins, but instead it’ll mark James Reimer’s return to action as he gets the start tonight in a surprise decision by Ron Wilson.
Yesterday saw Reimer work out well in practice, but Wilson said it was virtually set that Gustavsson would get the call. Perhaps Wilson took a look at the Leafs’ last three games against the Bruins and saw they’d given up 19 goal, losing all three.
The Leafs are in need of a steadier goaltender to deal with the Bruins’ attack and in Reimer’s short time in the NHL, he’s done well against Boston. Reimer’s 3-1-0 against The Bruins with a beyond-solid .930 save percentage. Getting a marquee performance out of Reimer would go a long way in proving this budding rivalry isn’t that of the “hammer vs. nail” variety, according to Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com.
For now, we’ll see what Reimer’s got tonight. After such a long layoff, facing Boston is as close to being thrown to the wolves as you can get. A big game out of Reimer tonight would give the Leafs the confidence they need to continue their march for the playoffs.
Those shouts of joy coming from Toronto are in response to news that James Reimer has been cleared to play.
Reimer has been out since late October after suffering a whiplash-like injury against Montreal. Whether you choose to believe the Leafs saying it was whiplash or Reimer’s mother saying it was a concussion is up to you, but either way he’s been out of action for over a month.
In the meantime, it’s been Jonas Gustavsson and Ben Scrivens holding down the fort with Gustavsson emerging as a fairly reliable guy that’s kept the Leafs humming along.
Reimer won’t get right back to action on Saturday night against Boston, however. James Mirtle reports that Ron Wilson has named Gustavsson the starter for that game — but Toronto has given up 19 goals to Boston in three games this season, so maybe we’ll see Reimer after all.
One thing’s for sure: If the Leafs can keep doing what they’re doing and Reimer returns to form, the possibility of Leafs Nation of seeing their team in the postseason becomes very real.