The Toronto Maple Leafs managed to get a goal tonight despite losing by a score of 5-2 to the Florida Panthers. Sean Bergenheim of the Panthers ended up with two goals in the game; the opening and the final goal on the empty net. James Reimer faced 26 shots on net letting in four goals in another one of his shaky looking starts.
The season is as good as done. The question soon will be what Coach Randy Carlyle should do about goaltending. I believe the time is now to keep Jonas Gustavsson in the starting position and let him try out for his new contract. If Gustavsson can prove himself then we are ready to see him come back as a Leaf and contend for the starting position.
Using his size, Carter Ashton ran all over the ice looking to make some noise. His recorded two hits both thunderous had him defending himself from a fight with Shawn Matthias. The fight seemed to be a draw and that five minutes sent Ashton off for the third time in the night to the penalty box. The young Leaf found himself with two minor penalties that allowed the Florida Panthers to score on one of the man advantages.
Overall the type of game Ashton plays is just what the Leafs need; fast fore-check with size and ability to finish checks. Ashton is the type of player that can also protect teammates if the gloves do need to come off.
It was time for Coach Randy Carlyle to give James Reimer a start in-goal and his shaken confidence some boosting. Unfortunately like his last start against Florida he let in a goal within the first few minutes of the game. It is good to see Reimer fight off the mental aspect of getting scored on early and have a good first period of hockey goaltending. He is the type of goalie that needs that confidence to build so he can finish a game strong. Reimer shut the door right at the end of the first period that was a sensational left pad stop. This key save was essential for the team to head to the dressing room and collect their thoughts.
The team couldn’t come out and force the game upon the Panthers after the second period and Reimer couldn’t make a save to keep Florida within one goal.
When you look at the way Reimer has played this year, he hasn’t been a “steal” a game type goalie. Tonight was another example of that. He couldn’t come up with a big save to keep the game close. Letting in a goal from a blue line shot that even though was deflected, Reimer seemed crouched way to low and not out on the edge of the crease.