James Reimer leads Maple Leafs into Detroit | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaJames Reimer leads Maple Leafs into Detroit

Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014 | 10:13 PM

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Goalie James Reimer of the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on March 16, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Rob Carr/Getty Images) Goalie James Reimer of the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on March 16, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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James Reimer may have been designated the Toronto Maple Leafs backup goalie, but with the season winding down and starter Jonthan Bernier sidelined, Reimer will carry the ball in Detroit against the Red Wings on Tuesday, writes Mike Brophy.
It's Reimer's crease for now.

James Reimer may have been designated the Toronto Maple Leafs backup goalie, but with the season winding down and starter Jonthan Bernier sidelined, Reimer is carrying the ball.

The Maple Leafs are preparing to conclude a tough five-game road swing that took them through Death Valley in California, then on to the nation's capital in Washington and will end up in Detroit on Tuesday. They have a chance to return home with smiles on their faces with a victory.

Sure there have been some disappointing moments on the trip -- getting smoked 6-2 in San Jose and then falling behind 3-0 after 8:44 of the first period in what amounted to a 4-2 loss in Washington -- but there have been high points, too.

Toronto will cling to the memory of out-playing and defeating the Ducks in Anaheim and Kings in Los Angeles when the playoffs roll around. It gave the Maple Leafs some legitimacy.

The Red Wings, meanwhile, have been decimated by injuries this season and are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in 23 years. That, in itself, makes them a dangerous opponent. They won't go down without a fight.

"We know [Tuesday] night they will be coming after us and it's going to be a skating game," said Toronto coach Randy Carlyle of the Red Wings. "We have to be prepared to skate."

Learn from the past

If Carlyle thinks his team needs to be prepared for the game in Detroit, he needs only to refer to Sunday's game in Washington as an example of what can happen if you are not ready.

"What we're trying to do is regroup," Carlyle said. "We weren't happy with our game [Sunday] from a mental approach and we feel we have to definitely improve on that. First and foremost was our start. We cannot afford to start by giving any team in the league three goals.

That's not all

"The second part of it is special teams," Carlyle said. "If we have a decent game on special teams [Sunday] we get points. It's as simple as that. We had power plays and looked good, but didn't accomplish anything."

Carlyle said he has been pleased with his team's power play for most of the season, but added, "It's in a flat spot and there is the old adage of just getting it back to the point and shoot it and send three people to the net.

We haven't got to that point yet, but when you watch us work the puck around the way we did [Sunday] and as good as it looked with no results, if we continue to have that kind of puck possession and move it that effectively we will score some goals for sure."

Captain agrees

Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf, who works the left point on the power play, said his team needs to be better with the man advantage.

"We expect more," Phaneuf said. "We've got to do a better job of producing but I feel we have moved the puck well. We are getting chances; it's just about burying our chances. We have to bear down and put the puck in the net."

Fearing the Red Wings

Detroit is trying to make the playoffs for the 23rd season in a row and time is running out. With that in mind the Maple Leafs know they are in for a tough game Tuesday night. Phaneuf said they must be prepared.

"At this time of year teams are extremely desperate and we're no different," he said. "We want to get as many points as we can and keep moving up. You want to finish as high as you can and tomorrow we are playing a team that is desperate for points, but we've got to be desperate, too."

The Bernier report

Carlyle said Bernier had an MRI and the result was he has a lower body injury. Shocking!

He was asked, "How low?"

"It's in the groin area," he admitted.

In the old days he might have responded, "He has a pulled groin."

The coach added he believes the team's No. 1 goalie is, "more day-to-day than week-to-week."

In the meantime, Reimer will get the start, although Carlyle said he has no hesitation in starting Drew MacIntyre, up from the AHL Marlies.

Phaneuf said he has no worries about his team's goaltending.

"I have said all year long that both guys have been good and we're confident in both of them," Phaneuf said. "Injuries are part of the game and you never want to see a guy get hurt so hopefully Bernie can get well soon, but Reims has done a great job. 

We didn't start very well in front of him and gave up some key chances to guys that can put the puck in the net. He has done a good job for us and we're very confident in how he can play."

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