The Maple Leafs’ goaltending battle rages on. James Reimer repeatedly has told the media he’s not about to sit idly and watch Jonathan Bernier steal the crease from him. Bernier has posted great numbers in his first five games as a Leaf but after 10 days of being a spectator Reimer got a chance to shine against the visiting Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night. In the 4-1 Leafs victory Reimer sparkled with a 37-save performance. Good thing he was on. His teammates managed just 14 shots on Wild goaltenders Darcy Kuemper who started and was pulled and Josh Harding. Despite the pop-gun offence the Leafs find themselves with a 6-1 record after seven games. Given the inconsistent defensive play it’s somewhat remarkable but the goaltending has been far above average. And all this without prize signing David Clarkson who has three games remaining in his 10-game suspension to start the regular season. Reimer had not played since he was yanked during an eventual win against Ottawa on Oct. 5. Before a crowd of 19283 at the Air Canada Centre his rebound control and puckhandling issues remained the same but he stood tall regardless. There was a save on Torrey Mitchell on a breakaway after Dion Phaneuf gave the puck away in the neutral zone but Reimer’s most impressive stop was on Mikael Granlund. With the Leafs holding a 2-1 lead in the second Granlund sped away from Phil Kessel at the Toronto blue line and moved in on Reimer. Granlund attempted a move that often works — slipping the puck between the goalie’s legs on a backhand deke — but Reimer anticipated it all the way and slammed the five-hole shut. Tyler Bozak Trevor Smith and Mason Raymond with two goals scored for the Leafs. Toronto didn’t have forward James van Riemsdyk who missed the game because of an undisclosed injury. Smith was recalled from the Toronto Marlies and took his spot. Rookie defenceman Morgan Rielly assisted on two goals as did his partner Cody Franson and now has played in five games in the NHL. The Leafs can make a decision on his future after nine games and there has been no official word yet that he will be staying and not going back to Moose Jaw of the Western Hockey League. Once Rielly plays in 10 games the first year of his entry-level deal kicks in. The Wild are in a similar situation with defenceman Mathew Dumba who was taken seventh overall in 2012 two picks after the Leafs selected Rielly. Dumba was a healthy scratch on Tuesday.
Leafs' James Reimer stands tall in 4-1 win over Wild
Toronto Sun | Oct 16