Goalie Nods: Reimer returns home

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Reimer looks to get the Leafs back in the win column

The Toronto Maple Leafs have just one win in their last four and are heading into a back-to-back situation tonight when they visit the Winnipeg Jets. Manitoba native James Reimer, who is 6-6-0 with a 3.39 G.A.A and a .905 save percentage, is expected to get the start in goal for the Leafs. Reimer allowed three goals on 41 shots in the Maple Leafs’ 3-2 loss to the Lightning on Monday. The 26-year-old allowed four goals on 19 shots in his only start at MTS Centre last season.

Michael Hutchinson gets the start in goal for the Jets.


Canadiens at Penguins: Carey Price vs. Marc-Andre Fleury

Sabres at Rangers: Jhonas Enroth vs. Henrik Lundqvist

Flyers at Devils: Steve Mason vs. Cory Schneider

Wild at Stars: Darcy Kuemper vs. Kari Lehtonen

Blue Jackets at Coyotes: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Mike Smith

Red Wings at Canucks: Jimmy Howard vs. Ryan Miller

Blues at Sharks: Brian Elliott vs. Antti Niemi

Cardiac Cats: Panthers win as Reimer, Leafs fade in third

Toronto Maple Leafs v Florida Panthers

With Jonathan Bernier out sick, it looked like James Reimer might just nab a victory for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Then the Florida Panthers’ domination of the third period happened.

The Maple Leafs carried a 4-2 lead into the final frame after a wild six-goal second period even though the Panthers generated a 29-13 shot advantage through the first 40 minutes of the game. Puck luck swerved sharply in the other direction during the final frame, however, as Florida won 6-4 after scoring four times on just six shots on goal.

Even with one of those tallies hitting an empty net, it’s likely that Reimer will feel the heat in Toronto after this loss.

He’d probably want a few goals back, including Dmitry Kulikov’s first tally of 2014-15:

Randy Carlyle wouldn’t even give Reimer a vote of confidence after tonight’s game, as TSN’s Jonas Siegel reports:

While much of the focus will be on Toronto’s troubles, the Panthers deserve some credit for being tenacious in recent close games:

As of this writing, the Maple Leafs would still grab the first wild card spot in the East while Florida would be on top of the bubble. The Panthers trail Toronto by three standings points, yet have three games in hand, so they might close in on the Buds in the standings in the same way they did during today’s game.

Video: Reimer, Leafs steal two points in Detroit

James Reimer #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs guards the net during an NHL game against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place on March 17, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
(March 16, 2012 - Source: Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images North America)

James Reimer made his first start since Nov. 15th on Wednesday night and made a case to start more regularly.

The Leafs goaltender turned aside 41 Red Wings shots as Toronto edged Detroit 2-1 in a shootout. Reimer improved to 3-0-0 when facing 40 or more shots this season. He has a 1.94 G.A.A. and a .953 save percentage in those games.

Mike Santorelli had the winner while Phil Kessel scored his team-leading 15th of the season in regulation for the Leafs.

With the win, Toronto improved to 7-1-1 over their last nine games.

When coach Randy Carlyle was asked for a comment on his goaltender post-game, he reached into his old bag of tricks.

“He was just OK,” joked Carlyle. “I’ve been waiting a long time for that.”

For those not familiar, Carlyle caused a stir last season following a 3-2 loss to the Red Wings.

At that time, he was asked to comment on Reimer’s performance following a 28 save loss.

“He was OK. He was just OK,” Carlyle said.

Reimer was not amused by those comments.

“He said I was just OK? I thought I was good,” Reimer responded. “I don’t know if I was great and I would like to be great. I thought I made some good saves when I needed to. That third one, you want to make a big save for your team there. Unfortunately it wasn’t the case tonight.”

The back and forth between Carlyle and Reimer, which occurred on March 18, caused a rift between the two leading to speculation that the goaltender would likely be traded during the offseason.

Following Wednesday’s win, the only question is when Reimer will get the crease again.

Toronto now has two days off before playing host to Detroit for the fifth and final meeting of the season on Saturday. The Leafs will play in their seventh back-to-back of the season when the Kings visit Sunday.

Reimer is likely to get one of those two games.

Gustav Nyquist had the lone Red Wings goal. Detroit saw its’ three-game win streak come to an end in the loss.

“They stole two points,” said Wings coach Mike Babcock post-game.

Jimmy Howard made 18 saves in the loss.