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Save of the Night – James Reimer (March 16)

Aside from the occasional night off – or the even less common instance when a save or goal isn’t deemed worthy – the gang at PHT will decide which tally or stop is the best of any given night. Once those two winners are determined, we’ll share our reasoning (and most importantly, the video clip for each) in posts for your viewing pleasure.

Things could have been very different in Toronto’s 3-1 win in Carolina on Wednesday night. Early in the 2nd period, the Leafs and Canes were tied 1-1 when Eric Staal had a breakaway. If he scores, the rest of the game takes on a completely different complexion. Instead,James Reimer continued to give Leafs Nation unbridaled hope by stoning the eldest Staal brother with a strong pad against the post. The Leafs went on to win the game on the power of two goals by Dion Phaneuf, but they can look back to this save by Reimer as a turning point.

Save of the Night – James Reimer (March 3)

Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs
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Aside from the occasional night off – or the even less common instance when a save or goal isn’t deemed worthy – the gang at PHT will decide which tally or stop is the best of any given night. Once those two winners are determined, we’ll share our reasoning (and most importantly, the video clip for each) in posts for your viewing pleasure.

What a tough decision tonight. Almost any other night Jose Theodore’s sprawling save on Ryan Callahan would easily be the save of the night. But James Reimer was able to flash the glove to stop a point blank shot by Danny Briere from the middle of the slot. That save just happened to be with 20 seconds left in a 1-goal game. As if all of that wasn’t enough, the puck bounces off the top of the net and would have dropped onto the goal line if it wasn’t for Reimer’s second save on the play.

Can’t really go wrong either way—but we’ll go with Reimer’s stop simply because it saved the victory for the Leafs.

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With J.S. Giguere out, the Leafs turn to unlikely goalie duo of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens

Patrik Elias, James Reimer

With word that J.S. Giguere’s injury will keep him out about seven to 10 days, the Toronto Maple Leafs will turn to a very green goalie duo of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens for their game against the Ottawa Senators tonight.

Chris Johnston writes that they make an unlikely duo, as Reimer was once third on the Leafs’ depth chart while Scrivens came in at fifth.

The two became fast friends during the Maple Leafs’ training camp according to Johnston, but never expecting to be the two netminders dressing for a regular season NHL game. At least during the 2010-11 season, that is.

Yet that’s the case, as a startling rash of injuries pushed the two goalies up the team’s depth chart. Giguere was the most recent addition to a walking (or waddling, I guess, since they’re wearing goalie pads?) wounded list that included Jonas Gustavsson (minor heart surgery) and minor league netminder Jussi Rynnas (broken finger).

It’s likely that Reimer will get a nice run of starts, but Scrivens is an asset to the organization too … even if it’s just to get them through survival mode. The gang at Pension Plan Puppets points out that one of the perks of having the Toronto Marlies as their AHL affiliate is that Scrivens was able to play for the Marlies Friday and then backup Reimer tonight without traveling.

Considering the team’s goalie headaches, it’s nice to at least have one convenient thing going for them, after all.

Save of the night: James Reimer reigns supreme over the Islanders

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Aside from the occasional night off – or the even less common instance when a save or goal isn’t deemed worthy – the gang at PHT will decide which tally or stop is the best of any given night. Once those two winners are determined, we’ll share our reasoning (and most importantly, the video clip for each) in posts for your viewing pleasure.

If you’ve not heard of James Reimer yet, that just means you’re not living in Toronto. There, Reimer is quickly becoming a cult hero with Leafs faithful for his big saves and his ability to actually win games for the Leafs. The Leafs moved to within eight points of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference after a 5-2 win over the Islanders last night and he managed to impress Leafs fans everywhere with his abilities in goal again.

In the third period with the Leafs leading 4-2, the Islanders were working the puck around the Leafs zone when it ended up on the stick of Frans Nielsen who unleashed a big slap shot through traffic. Somehow, Reimer was able to track it at the last second and make a huge glove save to keep the Isles at bay. Reimer’s popularity is big enough to warrant a nickname that would make Michael Bay’s eyebrows perk up: Optimus Reim. If he keeps up his play while making more saves like this, Leafs fans will be hoping he transforms into a playoff starting goalie this season.

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James Reimer ripple effects? Jonas Gustavsson sent down to the AHL

Jonas Gustavsson, James Reimer

In case you haven’t heard, James Reimer pitched a 27-save shutout last night. If you live in or around Toronto, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about it. (Maybe even 27 times at this point?)

While the Maple Leafs claim that they’re sending (or “loaning”) goalie Jonas Gustavsson to the minors for a conditioning stint, it appears that they really did so to give him some reps and maybe restore his wavering confidence. Yet Chemmy at Pension Plan Puppets brings up the interesting possibility that Gustavsson could face the possibility of being outplayed in the AHL by Jussi Rynaas and therefore might not resurface in the big leagues this season.

It’s been a nasty season for “The Monster,” as he put together a 6-13-2 record with ugly individual numbers (3.29 GAA and 89 save percentage). Meanwhile Reimer is becoming a minor sensation, going 5-3-0 in nine appearances with a 1.96 GAA and a 94 save percentage.

Reimer is on a darling run right now, but maintaining such numbers is unlikely. The question is: how far is “this” Reimer from the goalie we’ll see once he regresses to the mean?

Leafs fans are satisfied to get a little excited about this small sample size, though. After all these years of frustration, can you really blame them?