Florida’s found an ideal situation in goal.
James Reimer, who’s been terrific for the last three months, will make his sixth appearance in the last nine games when the Panthers take on the Blues in St. Louis tonight. The start comes just three days after his last — a stellar 35-save effort in a 4-1 win in Anaheim — and two nights after Roberto Luongo stopped 33 of 35 in a win over the Kings.
So yeah, nice little dynamic at play here.
Luongo, who turns 38 in April, was fatigued down the stretch last year and admitted as much following an opening-round playoff loss to the Isles. That was one of the big reasons Florida brought aboard Reimer, inking him to a fairly lucrative five-year, $17 million deal.
After a bit of a rough start, Reimer has been full value. He turned things around with a solid December (.941 save percentage), and continued that over to the new year. Things have really taken off lately, though, as his stellar play has given head coach Tom Rowe the luxury of resting Luongo, knowing that Reimer will provide stability in goal.
Consider what Reimer’s done over the last three weeks alone:
Jan. 26: Stopped 31 of 32 shots in a 2-1 win over Tampa Bay.
Feb. 3: Stopped 22 of 23 shots in a 2-1 win over Anaheim.
Feb. 15: Stopped both shots faced in relief of Luongo in an OT win over San Jose.
Feb. 17: The aforementioned 35-save victory over the Ducks.
Reimer’s only poor outing was on Feb 9. when he was hooked after allowing three goals on 14 shots against L.A.
For the Blues, Jake Allen gets the start.
— Just one other game on the slate tonight, as the Ducks take on the Coyotes in Arizona. Mike Smith will go for the ‘Yotes, after making 29 saves in a win over San Jose on Saturday. For Anaheim, no word on a starter yet. John Gibson shut out the Kings last night, so he could be in line for a break — but that said, he’s been outstanding over the last two months, and head coach Randy Carlyle could opt to go right back to him.