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.