James Reimer comes to Maple Leafs' rescue | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaJames Reimer comes to Maple Leafs' rescue

Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 | 11:20 PM

Back to accessibility links
Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer made 36 saves against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press) Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer made 36 saves against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Beginning of Story Content

The Minnesota Wild owned the ice at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday, out-shooting the Toronto Maple Leafs 37-14, but it was the home team that skated away with a 4-1 victory thanks, in part, to its goalie James Reimer. 
Statistics don't always paint an accurate picture.

In this case, however, they sure did.

The Minnesota Wild owned the ice at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday, out-shooting the Toronto Maple Leafs 37-14, but it was the home team that skated away with a 4-1 victory thanks, in part, to its goalie James Reimer. 

It was Reimer's first start in 10 days after being pulled in the third game of the season. Since then, newcomer Jonathan Bernier has been rock solid for Toronto.

While Reimer was named the first star of the game, even he admitted it wasn't his best game.

"For me it's trying to battle out there and give the boys a chance [to win]," Reimer said. "Honestly overall I wasn't that happy with my game. I thought my first saves were good and I was battling through traffic, but I thought there were some things that I could have been better at. Sometimes that's the way things go; you just have to rely on your compete and your willingness to battle. 

"Sometimes they aren't the prettiest and in essence that was kind of how my game was tonight, but you find a way to make the saves. I just didn't feel that I was as sharp as I could have been. I was focused, intense and mentally in the right frame of mind, but I felt like I could never get into that rhythm where things were sticking to me."

Reimer had difficulty handling rebounds, as he has in the past, but stood tall making a couple of breakaway saves in the second period. He added having so many days between games made it difficult for him to get into a rhythm.

"You always want to make those key saves whether you make three saves in the game or 30," Reimer said. "You want to be there to make the key saves at the key times. In the second period I didn't get too much work so I just had to try to stay ready."

Download Flash Player to view this content.

JVR MIA: Left winger James van Riemsdyk, who had two goals against Edmonton Saturday night, missed practice Monday with what was described as a maintenance day by coach Randy Carlyle. He also missed Tuesday's game against Minnesota with what is being called an upper-body injury. Van Riemsdyk skated for about 10 minutes in the morning and then decided he wasn't fit to play.

CHOOSING WORDS CAREFULLY: Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle continues to be concerned about the mistakes his team is making, but with a 6-1-0 record, he isn't about to throw anybody under the bus...at least publicly.

"Every win is not going to be a work of art," Carlyle said. "We'll just move on and try to bring some of the things that are ailing us up. We know there are areas that we have to improve on and I'll continue to push for that. The message has to be delivered and framed in the proper way that you're not tearing them down. 

"Even though we're not playing the way we'd like to be playing we're still winning hockey games. There is ample footage and ample evidence that we're not playing to a high enough level, but we're playing high enough to win hockey games. The worry for the coaches is when we play like this some nights we're going to get our butts kicked if we play like this."

CLINK! OFF THE POST: Josh Leivo came as close as you can come to scoring your first NHL goal without the puck actually going in early in the third period when he clanked a shot off the cross bar. 

Leivo, who played junior in Sudbury and Kitchener last season, has played three NHL games and has yet to score.

"I brought it over the line and dropped the puck to Jay McClement," Leivo said. "Then I separated from the D-man and he got it back to me. I had a short little breakaway and saw that the goaltender was down so I tried to go up. It hit the cross bar."

Leivo was on the ice when the Wild pulled its goalie late in the contest and said he did not want his first NHL goal to be an empty-netter.

"I want my first goal to be a normal goal," Leivo said.

CAPTAIN SMITTY: With JVR unable to play, the Maple Leafs summoned Trevor Smith from the AHL Marlies. Smith, the captain of the Marlies, became the 900th player in Toronto Maple Leafs history when he dressed for the game against Colorado Oct. 8. He also scored his first goal as a Maple Leaf Tuesday against the Wild. 

The 23-year-old left winger has three goals and seven points in three games with the Marlies this season. Tuesday's was his 26th NHL game, having also played with Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders. He now has four NHL goals and seven points.

HEAT IS OFF: The decline of Dany Heatley as a productive NHL winger has been rather swift. Once one of the top scorers in the league who boasted back-to-back 50-goal seasons with the Ottawa Senators, he is a mere shadow of his former self with the Minnesota Wild. 

Heatley managed just 11 goals and 21 points in 36 games with Minnesota last season and is off to a horrible start this year with just one assist in his first six games. In a league that seems to get quicker by the day, Heatley has slowed to a crawl. 

The Wild wanted to buy him out in the summer, but couldn't because he was injured. Heatley is in the final year of his contract and will be paid $5 million US this season. His cap hit, however, is $7.5 million. Ouch!

OOPS: With the Maple Leafs enjoying a second-period power play, defenceman Dion Phaneuf rushed the puck out of the Toronto zone. He hit centre and attempted a drop pass to who he presumed was partner Cody Franson. 

It wasn't. It was, in fact, Minnesota's Torrey Mitchell who broke in alone on Reimer. The Leafs goalie saved the day with an arm stop.

UNSELFISH PLAY: With Mason Raymond's shot headed toward the empty net, Phil Kessel followed the puck and was ready to tip it in if it was going wide. When he realized it was going in, he let it go giving Raymond his second goal of the night and fourth of the season.

End of Story Content

Back to accessibility links

Story Social Media

End of Story Social Media

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.