Oct 6, 2011, 10:32 PM EST
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.
Dec 12, 2013, 7:10 PM EST
No word on the severity of TT’s injury.
Dec 12, 2013, 6:27 PM EST
He’s been out with a lower-body injury.
Dec 12, 2013, 5:17 PM EST
Oilers coach wants to use “speed” and “smarts” tonight.
Dec 12, 2013, 4:40 PM EST
Oh, and Anders Nilsson sent back to AHL.
Dec 12, 2013, 4:23 PM EST
That didn’t take long.
Dec 12, 2013, 3:53 PM EST
Plus, the Rangers have issues.
Dec 12, 2013, 3:31 PM EST
Coyotes hoping “it’s not long, long-term.”
Dec 12, 2013, 3:06 PM EST
Activated off IR, will face the Flames in Calgary tonight.
Dec 12, 2013, 2:57 PM EST
Helped the Flames win their first and only Stanley Cup in 1989.
Dec 12, 2013, 2:50 PM EST
Game goes March 1 (on NBC).
Dec 12, 2013, 2:42 PM EST
News and notes from the blue paint…
Dec 12, 2013, 2:32 PM EST
Will get an MRI tomorrow.
Dec 12, 2013, 1:53 PM EST
“We want black and blue hockey.”
Dec 12, 2013, 1:51 PM EST
He broke in as a 19-year-old during the 2011-12 campaign.
Dec 12, 2013, 1:42 PM EST
Former Oilers draftee had been with AHL Adirondack.
Dec 12, 2013, 12:54 PM EST
Buffalo’s in Ottawa to play the Sens tonight.
Dec 12, 2013, 12:37 PM EST
Dec 12, 2013, 12:15 PM EST
Assistant general manager John Weisbrod also relieved of duties.
Dec 12, 2013, 12:11 PM EST
Montreal’s in town tonight.
Dec 12, 2013, 11:53 AM EST
Club looking to snap a three-game winless streak.
- Burke wants the Flames to be — yep, you guessed it — more ‘truculent’ 39
- Flames fire GM Jay Feaster 36
- Video: Projected rise in salary cap could have some players ‘licking their lips’ 18
- Discuss: Blackhawks score big on Rivalry Night on NBCSN 36
- Crosby: If I had to guess Thornton’s suspension, I’d say 10 games 82
- Cowen gets two-game suspension for hit on Girgensons 12
- Rangers must consider Callahan’s injury history in contract talks 13
- The Chip ‘n’ Chase: Outrage over hockey violence, Gary Bettman is a happy man, Darryl Sutter is awesome, and more! 33
- Report: Isles coach Capuano not seen as problem 11
- Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Flyers challenge top-ranked Blackhawks 18
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (182)
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (156)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (138)
- Pens put Orpik on IR (132)
- Orpik suffers from concussion, including memory loss (118)