Recap: Toronto Maple Leafs v.s. New Jersey Devils
The Toronto Maple Leafs won, but I’m left worrying.
The Leafs beat the New Jersey Devils in what wasn’t the ideal road game Saturday – though, of course, the Leafs have been amazing on the road (11-6-2).
Ironically, it started off ideally, with the Leafs scoring early to quiet the crowd and subdue a desperate Devils team fighting for eighth place.
But after that first goal by Leo Komarov, the Leafs allowed the Devils, and crowd, back into the game.
Halfway through the first period, the Devils were outshooting the Leafs 11-2. Go pat James Reimer on the back for keeping the buds in it.
In all, Reimer made 27 saves, many of them difficult. Tipped pucks, Devils crashing the net, his defencemen leaving him out to dry, Reimer battled through it all.
Luongo? Kiprusoff? No need.
But, if the Leafs – who are poised to make the post season for the first time in nearly a decade – leave Reimer to fend for himself in the playoffs, I worry.
The playoffs, as hockey fans know, are a different animal and Reimer has never played in them. Is he up to standing on his head under that kind of pressure?
Why even test him, though? The buds need to play better in front of him.
It was a low-scoring game Saturday, against arguably one of the NHL’s most boring teams to watch in the Devils, but the game was super exciting.
Because the Devils had scoring chances over and over, again and again. Just before the end of the first, the Devils got a 2-on-1, shorthanded, and almost tied the game. That would have been a backbreaker.
The Leafs outhit the Devils 48-18, but were outshot 28-18. Overall, I’d have to say they were outplayed. Good thing our penalty kills went well, 5/5.
But 18 shots, on Martin Brodeur? That isn’t usually going to win you games against the legend. If he’s in net next week, we’ll need plenty more.
A quick goal by Komarov on Saturday, some stellar play from Reimer, and then a lucky bounce for Tyler Bozak to put the Leafs up 2-0 halfway through the third made the difference in a game the Leafs didn’t exactly deserve to win.
But did you see Reimer? A goalie playing like that (he deserved a shutout) in the playoffs will have the home crowd going nuts, towels swinging in the air.
Man, Reimer can blow the lid off the Air Canada Centre when the buds finally make it back to the playoffs. It’s exciting stuff.
Thanks, Reimer. Go Leafs Go! Cheers.