Oct 6, 2011, 10:32 PM EDT
Don’t blame Toronto Maple Leafs fans for feeling exhilarated right now, even if it’s just one game.
The team still has unsolved questions – the most pressing one might regard the health of center Tim Connolly – but two of their wild cards came up aces in a 2-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens tonight. James Reimer looked sharp in his first game of the season, stopping 32 shots on his way to a shutout. Reimer earned the Maple Leafs’ first opening night shutout since Oct. 7, 2000, when the team produced another 2-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens. (Curtis Joseph was the Leafs goalie on that night, making 26 saves.)
Judging Reimer’s outlook based on one game is even more dangerous than assuming that his first 25 NHL games are a clear indication of the future, but it was still a great performance. The Maple Leafs were out-shot 32-18 in their season opener, but Reimer was the biggest difference-maker.
As if that wasn’t dazzling enough, the Leafs enjoyed great nights from their sometimes-criticized marquee players. That was most clearly seen in the game’s insurance goal; Phil Kessel made a heads-up play and then sent a nice pass to captain Dion Phaneuf, who rifled a shot past Carey Price.
Coming back from tough injuries
Leafs fans might have seen those performances coming, but Matthew Lombardi‘s contribution was far more surprising. He didn’t just manage to play earlier than expected in his first game back from concussion issues; Lombardi notched the game-winning goal on a rebound while playing shorthanded. Lombardi and Mike Brown created a rush on the penalty kill, as a shot sent Carey Price to the ground. Price couldn’t get up in time to stop Lombardi, who pounced on a rebound to score his first goal since April 10, 2010.
Overall, it was quality over quantity for Lombardi, though. He only played a little more than 11 minutes and took just two faceoffs (which he lost). You can understand head coach Ron Wilson’s decision to ease him back into the lineup, though.
Speaking of players returning from tough injuries, Max Pacioretty played in his first regular season game since that ill-fated Zdeno Chara hit last season. The up-and-coming Habs winger played a bit more than 15 minutes, threw two hits, took four shots and had a -1 rating.
Again, some Toronto fans are probably dreaming of watching their players shake open champagne bottles and raise the Stanley Cup, but most are reasonable enough to put this win in perspective. Seeing a sharp Reimer and a healthy Lombardi – not to mention good games from Phaneuf and Kessel – won’t make them feel glum, though, either.
Jul 30, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT
The 37-year-old still wants to continue his career.
Jul 30, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT
Along with Yao Ming.
Jul 30, 2015, 2:01 PM EDT
“Nobody benefits from a short-term deal like this, in particular, our hockey department.”
Jul 30, 2015, 1:15 PM EDT
Vancouver wasting little time locking up the target of Tuesday’s trade.
Jul 30, 2015, 12:50 PM EDT
Boston could use some depth on its back end.
Jul 30, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT
Hearing is scheduled for Friday at 9 a.m. ET.
Jul 30, 2015, 10:50 AM EDT
Alleged incident involved a female victim.
Jul 30, 2015, 9:50 AM EDT
As opposed to just his skill.
Jul 30, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
The former general manager “wasn’t prepared to make the changes that needed to be made.”
Jul 30, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
Thursday’s collection of links.
Jul 29, 2015, 10:40 PM EDT
He played in 502 games, primarily with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Jul 29, 2015, 9:12 PM EDT
The 24-year-old gives agreed to an entry-level deal.
Jul 29, 2015, 7:49 PM EDT
Will he live up to his next contract?
Jul 29, 2015, 6:27 PM EDT
“It really wasn’t about Dainius himself.”
Jul 29, 2015, 4:57 PM EDT
His collection can be had for $5.7 million.
Jul 29, 2015, 3:31 PM EDT
The contest will air on Dec. 31 while the Classic itself is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET on Jan. 1.
Jul 29, 2015, 2:28 PM EDT
Staying healthy would help, too.
Jul 29, 2015, 1:22 PM EDT
The Seal Beach Detention Center isn’t exactly Shawshank.
Jul 29, 2015, 1:03 PM EDT
“I relaxed down there and came back with the same attitude and everything kind of took care of itself.”
Jul 29, 2015, 12:34 PM EDT
Veteran forward had just four goals and six assists in 74 games last season.
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- Voynov serving sentence at jail that once advertised it had flat screen TVs 45
- Report: Bernier and Leafs more than $2 million apart ahead of Friday’s arbitration hearing 10
- Flyers re-sign Couturier: six years, $26 million 39
- Benning calls Sutter a ‘foundation piece’ for Canucks 24
- Here’s a chart that shows which teams have been good/bad at drafting 40
- Penguins sign Fehr to three-year, $6 million contract 21
- Trade: Penguins send Sutter to Canucks for Bonino, Clendening 54
- NBC Sports to broadcast 105 NHL games in 2015-16 58
- Wilson signs with Preds, leaving just four arbitration cases to go 5
- He’s baaaaaack: Leafs pull a stunner, hire Lamoriello as GM (Updated) (84)
- Bettman says NHL would have to ‘consider’ putting Quebec City in the Western Conference (70)
- Rangers sign Stepan — six years, $39 million (62)
- NBC Sports to broadcast 105 NHL games in 2015-16 (58)
- Trade: Penguins send Sutter to Canucks for Bonino, Clendening (54)