Skip to content

James Reimer exhilarates Leafs fans with 32-save shutout

Oct 6, 2011, 10:32 PM EDT

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. Blues won’t make significant addition until Tarasenko is signed

    Jul 1, 2015, 8:06 AM EDT

    Vladimir Tarasenko Getty Images

    That keeps them in a position to match a potential offer sheet.

  2. Ribeiro, Preds continue to negotiate an extension

    Jun 30, 2015, 11:55 PM EDT

    Mike Ribeiro Mike Ribeiro

    David Poile has made the 35-year-old an offer and given him a deadline.

  3. NHL, Coyotes deny report that team is moving to Vegas

    Jun 30, 2015, 9:59 PM EDT

    Las Vegas Arena Construction Site Tour Getty Images

    But this isn’t the first time such a scenario has been reported.

  4. Sharks sign Jones to a three-year, $9 million extension

    Jun 30, 2015, 9:33 PM EDT

    martinjonesap AP

    San Jose acquired him from Boston earlier in the day.

  5. Islanders ink Anders Lee to a four-year, $15 million extension

    Jun 30, 2015, 8:50 PM EDT

    EDMONTON, AB - MARCH 06: Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders celebrates a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during an NHL game at Rexall Place on March 06, 2014 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Getty Images

    He was set to become a restricted free agent on Wednesday.

  6. Wings buy out Weiss after two rocky seasons

    Jun 30, 2015, 8:27 PM EDT

    Stephen Weiss Getty Images

    Detroit’s creating an opportunity for one of its young forwards.

  7. Trade: Oilers get Korpikoski from Coyotes for Gordon

    Jun 30, 2015, 8:06 PM EDT

    Lauri Korpikoski Getty Images

    Arizona is getting back its former center.

  8. Saad, Jackets working on an extension ‘as we speak’

    Jun 30, 2015, 8:04 PM EDT

    Brandon Saad Brandon Saad

    He’s set to become a restricted free agent on Wednesday.

  9. Report: Richards’ border incident involved oxycodone

    Jun 30, 2015, 7:36 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers Getty Images

    He hasn’t been charged with a crime, but is reportedly being investigated.

  10. Ducks stay busy, name former Adams winner MacLean assistant coach

    Jun 30, 2015, 6:37 PM EDT

    Paul MacLean AP

    Won NHL’s coach of the year in 2013 with Ottawa.

  11. Trade: Bieksa headed to California — but it’s Anaheim, not San Jose

    Jun 30, 2015, 6:07 PM EDT

    Kevin Bieksa Getty Images

    Where he’ll be reunited with former teammate Ryan Kesler.

  12. Treliving, Flames not concerned about ‘noise’ coming out of Boston

    Jun 30, 2015, 5:45 PM EDT

    Brad Treliving Brad Treliving

    Calgary’s GM responded to comments in a Boston Herald story regarding defenseman Dougie Hamilton.

  13. Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago

    Jun 30, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT

    2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six Getty Images

    A total of seven players involved in Tuesday’s trade.

  14. Detroit signs Smith to two-year, $5.5 million extension

    Jun 30, 2015, 3:54 PM EDT

    Brendan Smith AP

    RFA defenseman appeared in a career-high 76 games last year.

  15. Defensemen Hunwick, Bartkowski to become UFAs

    Jun 30, 2015, 3:39 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers - Game Seven Getty Images

    Rangers and Bruins let their respective rearguards walk, thereby deepening the free agent pool.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Hamilton (2257)
  2. M. Richards (2170)
  3. C. Talbot (2026)
  4. R. O'Reilly (1883)
  5. S. Gagner (1864)
  1. A. Niemi (1703)
  2. E. Etem (1685)
  3. R. Lehner (1635)
  4. M. Lucic (1557)
  5. C. Pronger (1428)