Jonathan Bernier Gets the Nod Tonight for the Toronto Maple Leafs

William Wilson November 19, 2013 3
Jonathan Bernier dressed for the Toronto Maple LeafsBruce Bennett/Getty Images

Jonathan Bernier is expected to get the start tonight for the Toronto Maple Leafs over “incumbent” James Reimer. The Leafs face the New York Islanders at home starting at 7:00 pm EST.

Bernier last played on Friday, losing 3-1 in Buffalo, while Reimer earned a 4-2 home victory the following day against the Sabres.

A win tonight would give Bernier eight wins on the season – three more wins than Reimer currently claims.

As Leafs fans have quickly learned this season, the decision to start Bernier over Reimer shouldn’t be read too closely. Head coach Randy Carlyle has used the goaltending tandem to great success so far this season and there’s little reason to expect a change in strategy anytime soon.

Toronto sits third overall for fewest goals allowed in the Eastern Conference right now, which in part explains their early season success alongside a strong offence.

Both goalies are posting career numbers and that has given Carlyle and the Leafs some room to breathe. Bernier’s save percentage currently rests at .938 while his goals against average is a minuscule 2.05. Reimer, in contrast, claims a .942 save percentage and a 2.27 goals against average.

The Leafs have two others games this week – one on Thursday and the other on Saturday. Reimer will likely get the start in one of these contests or even both depending on Bernier’s performance tonight.

I wouldn’t call that competition. I’d consider it a friendly reminder to play your best.

Tonight will be the Leafs’ first matchup against the Islanders this season. It’s always fun to watch these two young, dynamic teams play against each other. Here’s hoping to another Leafs victory in the emerging rivalry.

Toronto will enjoy the edge in net tonight regardless of whether it’s Bernier or Reimer who ultimately plays out the duties given Evgeni Nabokov’s recent visit to the injury reserve.

I think it’s time to take advantage of someone else’s bite from the injury bug.


Follow me on Twitter for regular posts about sports (especially the Toronto Maple Leafs), politics and other news topics: @williamefwilson