How do you beat James Reimer? Shoot high on his glove side.
For fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs, this idea has long been a cliché, but it’s true.
The Montreal Canadiens demonstrated its truth twice in the opening minutes of yesterday’s game and it put the Leafs in a huge hole right off the bat.
After last night, we can add another chapter to the book on Reimer.
What’s another way to beat Reimer? Face him in a high-stakes, pressure-cooked matchup.
We should have learned this lesson last season during the playoffs when Reimer (and the Leafs’ defence) self-imploded in the dying minutes of Game 7 against the Boston Bruins. Reimer and the Leafs saw a seemingly insurmountable 4-1 lead quickly evaporate. The rest, unfortunately, is history.
Now, when the Leafs desperately need a victory to keep them in the playoff hunt, Reimer has once again come up lame on the big stage. Since regular starter Jonathan Bernier when down to injury, the Leafs have been in a virtual free fall with Reimer playing the role of main anchor.
There are now only ten games left in the Leafs’ season and they’ll be right back to action tonight. A starter for the game hasn’t been named at this point, but the Leafs will probably be forced to call upon Reimer again.
Bernier didn’t travel to New Jersey with the team and it’s not clear when he’ll be ready to return.
That puts the spotlight back on Reimer. The Leafs will have to hope that history doesn’t repeat itself and that Reimer’s ready to throw out the current book on himself (and write a new one).
It might be the Leafs’ last chance to crack the playoffs and it might be Reimer’s last chance to prove himself in Toronto.
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