Patrik Elias, James Reimer

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

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


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.

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?

The Leafs will be without Reimer on Saturday

James Reimer
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James Reimer (lower body) won’t be available to play in Saturday’s game against Washington.

Reimer was injured during a team practice earlier this week and although the injury didn’t appear to be serious, it will prevent him from suiting up in at least one game.

The Leafs originally thought that the 27-year-old would be good to go for this tilt, but head coach Mike Babcock said Reimer didn’t feel good enough to play.

Reimer’s emerged as the go-to-guy for the Maple Leafs this season and for good reason.

He has 7-3-4 record with a 2.07 goals-against-average and a .934 save percentage in 15 games.

Another reason the Leafs have been counting on him so much is because Jonathan Bernier‘s been awful.

Bernier will get another opportunity to prove himself on Saturday night, but he faces a stiff test against Alex Ovechkin and company.

The 27-year-old has an 0-7-1 record with a 3.17 goals-against-average and a .895 save percentage in ’15-16.

In a corresponding move, the Leafs sent defenseman Scott Harrington to the minors and recalled goalie Garret Sparks.

Sparks was Toronto’s seventh round pick in 2011.

The 22-year-old has an 8-2-1 record with the Toronto Marlies this season.

Rask edges Reimer in goalie duel; Marchand torments Toronto


The story was going to be about James Reimer, but to some extent, Zdeno Chara ended that with a big blast.

Chara scored the 1-0 goal fairly late in the third period of what had been a great display of goaltending, particularly by Reimer, as the Boston Bruins ultimately won 2-0. Tuukka Rask got the shutout, continuing to haunt Toronto Maple Leafs fans.

Again, Reimer was still very good, and still remains quite hot.

It was also a game in which Brad Marchand likely made even more enemies.

As you can see from the video above, he delivered a questionable hit (was it knee-to-knee?) on Leo Komarov. He also rubbed a little salt in Toronto’s wounds with an empty-netter.

The three stars says most of it:

Yet Marchand certainly made an impact in his own right, and in his own distinct way.