Skip to content

James Reimer exhilarates Leafs fans with 32-save shutout

Oct 6, 2011, 10:32 PM EST

Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs Getty Images

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Video: Unhappy Hextall says ‘there’s no short-term fixes here’

    Nov 28, 2014, 5:18 PM EST

    Flyers Draft Hockey AP

    He was quite composed when he said it, for the record.

  2. Video: Hjalmarsson crushes Kesler, Lindholm scores in wild sequence (Updated)

    Nov 28, 2014, 5:03 PM EST

    Arizona Coyotes v Anaheim Ducks Getty Images

    Anaheim forward didn’t take another shift for the remainder of the opening frame.

  3. Trade: Ducks get Brewer from Lightning; Beauchemin out 4-6 weeks

    Nov 28, 2014, 4:54 PM EST

    David Clarkson, Eric Brewer AP

    Veteran d-man wasn’t playing much for Tampa Bay.

  4. Hall went to MacT in support of Eakins

    Nov 28, 2014, 4:15 PM EST

    Montreal Canadiens v Edmonton Oilers Getty Images

    Oilers looked better last night in Nashville.

  5. The Coyotes would ‘love a franchise player,’ but tanking is not in their ‘DNA’

    Nov 28, 2014, 4:00 PM EST

    Don Maloney Getty Images

    “Just that idea destroys the whole credibility of an organization.”

  6. Bye-bye Berra? Avs to stick with Pickard in goal

    Nov 28, 2014, 3:41 PM EST

    Colorado Avalanche v Arizona Coyotes Getty Images

    Even after Semyon Varlamov returns from injury.

  7. Video: Martin St. Louis scores goal for 1,000th point

    Nov 28, 2014, 2:45 PM EST

    New York Rangers v Tampa Bay Lightning Getty Images

    Not bad for a little guy who wasn’t even drafted.

  8. Habs to healthy scratch Gilbert for first time this season

    Nov 28, 2014, 1:50 PM EST

    Chicago Blackhawks v Montreal Canadiens Getty Images

    Veteran d-man will be parked in the press box in Buffalo tonight.

  9. A brief post on the unpredictable nature of goaltending

    Nov 28, 2014, 1:08 PM EST

    Ryan Strome, Semyon Varlamov, Zach Redmond AP

    Semyon Varlamov was brilliant last season, but not so much this season.

  10. Trotz wants more ‘interior presence’ from the Caps

    Nov 28, 2014, 11:19 AM EST

    Buffalo Sabres v Washington Capitals Getty Images

    “Need a little more traffic, need second efforts.”

  11. Loktionov signs in KHL

    Nov 28, 2014, 11:01 AM EST

    Andrei Loktionov Getty Images

    Former King, Devil and ‘Cane joins HC Lokomotiv.

  12. NHL on NBC: Rangers vs. Flyers in a Thanksgiving Showdown

    Nov 28, 2014, 10:45 AM EST

    Jakub Voracek, Dan Boyle AP

    Eat some leftovers and watch some quality afternoon hockey.

  13. As Columbus searches for ‘identity,’ Dubinsky resumes practicing

    Nov 28, 2014, 9:50 AM EST

    Brandon Dubinsky, Taylor Beck AP

    He could return in about a week if things progress well.

Featured video

Eakins on his way out of Edmonton?

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (2759)
  2. V. Hedman (2730)
  3. P. Datsyuk (2479)
  4. D. Krejci (2210)
  5. P. Sharp (2169)
  1. B. Elliott (1975)
  2. Z. Chara (1824)
  3. S. Varlamov (1796)
  4. R. McDonagh (1754)
  5. B. Marchand (1695)