Leafs Postgame: Reimer becomes destroyer of worlds

The Leafs had a tough task ahead of them tonight, ending off an up-and-down week (or maybe it was down-and-up) hosting the Blackhawks on the second half of a back-to-back. Then James Reimer happened. 

The rundown

Let me just start by saying this was a great game to watch beginning to end, about as far from last Saturday’s game against the Bruins as any Leafs fan could want. Toronto had a solid start, getting on the board first on a Kadri goal from a nice feed from Winnik. The Hawks responded with a powerplay goal from Richards, and the first ended tied at 1, shots even at 10 apiece.

Special teams were kind to the Hawks again to start the second as they quickly scored another goal with the man-advantage, Seabrook notching a slapshot past Reimer. I thought that one might deflate the Leafs a little, as the Hawks looked to start taking over, but van Riemsdyk pounced on a brutal giveaway from Oduya and tied things up again quickly. Things got sort of run-and-gun from there for both teams, but remained even on the scoreboard heading into the third, 2-2.

The Leafs started the third with Peter Holland’s first goal of the season to take the lead, and then the Hawks took over. Like, “Bruins with 10 minutes left in game seven” took over. Reimer was absolutely spectacular in keeping the Leafs afloat under a barrage of shots (final tally 47-27 in favour of Chicago), and Toronto escaped with a regulation win, their third straight.

For the second half of a back-to-back against one of the league’s best clubs, it’s not entirely surprising the Leafs started to get run over in the third. Overall it was a great game to watch and the Leafs looked fine through 40 minutes, which was encouraging.


HockeyStats Game Summary

Blue warrior

It was Reimer. 

Remember when he put the team on his back and almost got them into the playoffs in 2011? Remember when he went toe-to-toe with Rask for seven games? It was like that. There was puck-jamming, pileups in front, and all kinds of point shots. Reimer made 25 saves… in the third period.


  • Sam Carrick made his Leafs debut after being called up from the Marlies today, and it’s hard to say how he looked since the fourth line played about four minutes. He looked fine early in the game, however, drawing a penalty and making a couple good offensive zone plays.
  • Carlyle relied heavily on Bozak’s line for the second game in as many nights. I really don’t know why, as the fourth was more than capable of eating up a few more minutes throughout, and the team could have used some wind when the Hawks were destroying them late.

See you Tuesday

The Leafs’ next game is in Arizona against the Coyotes on Tuesday. It’ll be a 9:00pm EST puck drop.

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  • ushaped

    Carlyle with some smart coaching this past week. He changed the lines earlier this week and stuck with them even though they didn’t produce initially. He chose the right goalies for the specific teams we faced though in reality Reimer could have one all the games. He didn’t over work Kessel in the jackets games and used his fourth line so the team would be fresh today. And he kept Kadri away from Toews and let Bozak/Phaneuf shutdown Toews. And he called a timely time out!

    The dinosauar is slowly learning. But I’m disappointed that with the new players, new management types, new asst coaches and new analytics bloggers that none of them can come up with a way for the leaf getting widely outshot in the third period with the lead. All that money on analytics, new coaches, buyouts and no one is smart enough to figure out how to correct the problem. The coaches, players, management and bloggers need to do a better job.

    • TGT23

      I’ve got it! You’re Glenn Healey!!!

      Seriously though, can’t blame the new assistants and analytics people for a tram put together BEFORE they got their jobs. Not to mention the final decisions on lines and ice time go to Carlyle who is notorious for being anti-anything passed 1975 in terms of mentality. A guy who doesn’t always use the optimal lines and runs his top guys into the ground.

      We won’t know the true value of the new analytics department until they have an off-season to work and preferably a new coach to work with.

    • Kmaskelly

      “none of them can come up with a way for the leaf getting widely outshot in the third period with the lead. All that money on analytics, new coaches, buyouts and no one is smart enough to figure out how to correct the problem. The coaches, players, management and bloggers need to do a better job”.

      If Carlyle would not lean too heavily on one or two lines and a couple of D pairings especially on the back end of a double dip then they may have some legs left to chase and check. Instead he goes back to last years standby the “turtle” approach. The Leafs are a very good skating team, let them check and skate.

      • BubbaLou

        I agree with you that when the leafs skate or “move their feet” as Carlyle say that the team plays well and I suspect “turtle” is made up description because that does not match anything that Carlyle mentions in his pressers.

        At any rate, the team clearly did not execute in the third period. The leaf players looked like they became tired in the third period from the back to back game. And after the PK in the third, the team got back to old bad habits and appeared to stop skating and “moving their feet”.

    • ushaped

      The Leafs were the better possession team 5v5 for the first two periods. Once they got the lead score effects came into play. The Hawks who already lead the league in shots turned it up but failed to tie it. This was a good game won through hard work.

  • Kmaskelly

    What a difference a week makes.
    -The first period was the best the Leafs have looked in a long long time.

    Three role players Nonis brought in in the off season Polak, Winnik, & Komarov really have improved the Leafs.

    With Carrick added to the forth line the Leafs finally
    have a balance between talent and pugnaciousness.
    With Phaneuf and Pollack as a shut down pair the Leafs finally become tougher to play against.

    The Leafs finally placing Holland off the forth line have put him in a position to succeed.
    The Leafs finally have the personnel so that people are not playing roles they are unsuitable to play-which has been a problem since pre Grabbo leafs.

    Reimer played as well as Bernier ever has tonight -I dont know any team in the NHL who
    has a better pair of goaltenders. Lets hope
    there are no further ego problems caused by
    unbalanced playing time.

    Switching lines has had two beneficial results.
    The Leafs opponents no longer can key on one line, as well with some grit on each line, the Leafs become a cycling as well as a rush team.
    As well with Line juggling the Leafs are not so

    The Leafs have actualized their potential and have bonded through adversity as a team.
    I think the Leafs have taken a giant step forward demonstrated by the last three games.

  • BubbaLou

    Things I liked: The Moneypuck acquisitions in the summer have been unusually stellar. You expect some of these to not pan out, but Dan Winnik for 1.1M, Santorelli for 1.5M is wow, just wow… Say what you want about Phil Kessel the defender (I thought he was pretty good tonight) you’ve got to respect that offense and speed. He was a monster… Uncle Leo Komarov has just tied his point production in the entire lockout shortened season. His PPG average is 0.6, but even if you don’t think that’s sustainable, 0.4 average pans out to 33 points on the year for your 3Mil player. Not only would I take it, but so far he is the team’s catalyst for making things happen.

    But there was one thing I disliked. Wanna know why I hate Randy Carlyle as a coach? That third period. Now you could say that the Leafs were perhaps looking tired – Chicago is fast, and the first two periods were frenetic – and you could say that, down a goal, the Blackhawks are going to turn up the heat – they call that “score effects” – and those are surely mitigating factors. But let’s look at the shots and Corsi breakdown – just humor me for a second it’s worth it.

    The first period official shots: 10 SOG Chi vs 10 SOG Tor. Corsi on the period was 17 attempts Chi vs 17 attempts for Tor.
    Great stuff by both teams, and you really did see something cool – the Leafs really were toe-to-toe with the Bhawks all period. Big kudos to the team showing up in a B2B for HNIC

    The second period official shots had 11 SOG for Chi and 10 SOG for Tor. Corsi however showed 23 attempts Chi versus the 15 attempts Tor. Chicago had a PP and we didn’t, but it was still close (60/40) and it was still nail-biting.. and look at that 2:20 into the 3rd we have a lead.

    3rd Period SOG: Chi 26!!! Leafs 7……
    3rd Period Corsi: Chi 47!!! Leafs 12. That’s what CF%19.57 looks like.

    In the NHL, you don’t flick the switch on offense and turtle that hard by mistake, or exhaustion, or inexperience in the league – that’s RC coaching. We played that whole period like a 5 man PK – we even basically threw a Power Play – and totally stopped pushing the puck past center, except to try and spring Kessel. That’s not ‘protecting the lead’ at all, and why in the world would that be a good plan on a 1 goal lead anyway, nevermind we’re facing Chicago? By design and philosophy, we threw Reimer -to-the-wolves- in the third period, and holy crap did he have to bail the Leafs out. That was some intense, nail-biting stuff but it certainly didn’t have to be. Turtling has been a recurring theme in RC’s tenure, and it’s something that basically gives the Blackhawks the green light to light you up. Playing all the defense is ironically, but truthfully, not good defense. We won tonight, but wow is that a bad plan to win long term.

    • The problem is not just Carlyle. The leafs “collapse” and getting outshout with Reimer bailing the team out was also a feature of the Wilson team. As bad as Carlyle is, he at least plays Kadri on the first line whereas Wilson kept waiving him to the AHL.

      Carlyle is awful coach, but something is off with the leafs skill and roster composition that predates this variation of the team. I suspect it is lack of quality centre depth to match up to Toews. A new coach will just get you more of this getting outshot (maybe a bit less then Carlyle) and also end of season “collapses”. This team needs a more thorough overhaul and no more of these bandaid coach changes and depth guy here or there.

    • I think you’re right.

      You can point to the back-to-back and all that, but at the same time the Leafs blatantly went into turtle mode in the third. If it was just exhaustion from a back-to-back, the difference wouldn’t have been as stark I don’t think. Randy sends them into penalty kill mode at 5 on 5 and it’s brutal, especially against teams with such a vicious attack as the Hawks.

      • BubbaLou

        Just for the record everyone, I don’t want to make it seem like he sets his defence this way as if it’s vindictive (though I wonder about his roster management sometimes), it’s just a bad strategy. These days, against these players, at this speed, under these rules it’s just asking to get burned by something.

        I don’t want to start story lines, but maybe it stems from his days as a player, former Norris trophy winning defenceman, and his viewpoint on the game from that vantage point at the time. He played until ’93 was still around for the Dead Puck Era, where playing all defense-all day rope a dope style was not only really viable, it was borderline unstoppable. There are modern tweaks to make it work (and not just, facetiously – God-tier goalie)but the “dump and change is our offense” principle is similar.

        As for the Ron Wilson comparison and the defence being similar – and don’t forget he had to coach through the Toskalol/Goose Leafs which would make any coach look bad – well, yeah it was pretty bad too. Wilson liked the run and gun offense, and it was bad in the other direction – it exposed a bad defense and worse goaltending, something we had a lot of then. He never got special teams right either. Is Randy Carlyle a better coach? Or is RC’s roster just much better than what it used to be in Toronto? Both? Neither?

  • TGT23

    Heck of a game by Reimer. That 3rd period was beastly. Easily the best we’ve seen him since the Boston series. If he stays in form and Bernier continues as he has, this team is dangerous.

    And those new lines… I mean, Winnik has been ridiculous on that top line. Unsustainable as it may be, it is a welcome site. Kadri is finally getting results from good play… Love it.

    It’s funny. But when Bernier has a great, game stealing game, the Reimer fans dismiss it and insult him. But if anyone did that after Reimer did this tonight they would lose their minds… No room for objectivity and balance in the Reimer fandom.

  • BubbaLou

    BubbaLou a much better summary of the game tonight than the author of the leaf game analysis in here this evening.

    I agree with your comments on Komarov who is truly the Tyler Hansborough of the N.H.L. A real agitator who just finishes his checks and punishes the opposing defenceman to well cough the puck up and boom its a game winner for Peter Holland.

    Absolutely right about Carlyle as Reimer was of game 5 and 6 level of the Boston series as Chicago through everything at him.

    You have to use your fourth line more on a back to back. Just as an analogy the Raptors rested their starting line up for a long segment of their game tonight as they desperately want to end their 15 game losing streak to the Miami Heat tomorrow night.

    It truly was vintage Carlyle. Now there is obviously a debate about whether you call a time out with 4.5 seconds. But there is no way I want to give Kane or Toews a minute to catch their breath and have the amazing face off man Toews direct that puck back for one more shot. But then again as you point out we got Uncle Leo.

    Three in a row for the squad and now a chance to sneak in a round of golf as they play the last place Arizona team and then on the mile high city against a struggling Avalanche team but it will be a struggle as well it is indeed a mile high. Hopefully Carlyle will be smart enough to actually use a fourth line as the team tires for from the high altitude as the game goes on.

  • ushaped

    They are doing well, but I still miss my fave player lupul! But I still have my 2 other fave players Uncle Leo and Optimus reim 😀

    (ofc kessel is a fave like no duh, that is already implied with everyone)

  • Nate

    Do anyone remember “to the line and not out” with Joe Bowen in the Wilson era leaf days with Reimer or Monster or Giggy in net. Getting hemmed in their own zone has always been the leafs style. If you look at the old Wilson leaf teams (poni,antropov, blake, stajan etc) they were high possession teams but goaltending as we know was terrible. Possession generally declined under Wilson as incoming players were generally weaker possession players and outgoing players were decent possession players.

    As for Carlyle’s his system appears to maximize getting hemmed in with high shots against, but the lack of enough skilled two players (particularly centres) is the fundamental flaw that will make any coach and their system look somewhat poor with this roster.

  • Kmaskelly

    There were multiple times where our first line of Winnik-Kadri-Kessel were able to cycle the puck and create extended periods of offensive zone time. Kessel spending more time in the offensive zone/not having to defend is exactly what this team needs. All lines seem to be much more balanced and able to create positive posession as a result. Also who said Kessel-Kadri didnt work well together? That theory seems to be losing traction. This Leafs fan is excited to say the least. Things are lookin up! 🙂

  • Kmaskelly


    He was AWSOME against one of the top teams in the NHL and in the 3rd period REIMS stole the game for the team, great job on the team in front on the first 2 periods….but they ran out of steam in the 3rd..

  • Kmaskelly


    He was AWSOME against one of the top teams in the NHL and in the 3rd period REIMS stole the game for the team, great job on the team in front on the first 2 periods….but they ran out of steam in the 3rd..

  • Kmaskelly


    He was AWSOME against one of the top teams in the NHL and in the 3rd period REIMS stole the game for the team, great job on the team in front on the first 2 periods….but they ran out of steam in the 3rd..

  • Kmaskelly

    I don’t care what analytics and career even strength SV% says but clearly and objectively Reimer is much superior goalie Bernier than these cherry picked stats.

    f you watch hockey you will see that Reimer battles, competes and works harder in net then that lazy and somewhat cocky Bernier. Reimer reminds me a bit of Clarkson’s work ethic who is not as polished as other forwards but whose lunch pail attitude and work ethic make you root for him. It is no wonder that leaf fans last night for cheering his name as they love these underdog players like Bozak, Clarkson and Reimer

    And what a stupid trade by Nonis by giving away a Scrivens (who is also better then Bernier, a pick and retaining salary) for Bernier when the leafs already have a better goalie in Reimer.

    • TGT23

      If you watch hockey? Steve Simmons???

      So, your point is that stats be damned, your completely biased opinion based on emotion and your perception of personality is that one goalie is better than the other…?

  • Kmaskelly

    sorry guys hit the post twice by mistake…but what the heck it’s worth the shout out…..


  • Kmaskelly

    I got to hand it to Carlyle with him trusting Kadri to centre and clean up after our offensive superstar. And even while Kadri was struggling offensively this season and made some poor defensive decisions, he never benched Kadri, demoted Kadri to the fourth line but instead put Kadri back on the ice and gave Kadri even more responsibility as 1C.

    Carlyle is a terrible systems coach but the trust he has shown in Kadri appears to have bolstered his confidence and game. It is great to see kadri offence heating up and now if they could on figure out that third period and get Gardiner firing on all cyclinders.

  • ushaped


    He was AWSOME against one of the top teams in the NHL and in the 3rd period REIMS stole the game for the team, great job on the team in front on the first 2 periods….but they ran out of steam in the 3rd.. GO REIMS GO

  • TGT23

    Now Boys (TGT23 & Leafer 1967)

    I Know TGT23 you were hoping I was gone, but seeingas Reims is still here I guess I am too,,,,

    Anyways fightng over which goalie is better doesn’t work as to each their own..I too favour Reimer over Bernier and still feel the Goaltending was never the problem this team had but that’s what they did, they messed with the Goalie’s and now its Reims and Bernier and that’s all there is too it…

    Last night was a great night for Reims, he deserved it and I am glad RC went with him and showed Reims his vote of confidence in him was not for nothing, Reims did what he does and did it great, he’s alot sharper and has really been looking good…love to see him any time in net good or bad…. And hearing the building cheer him on chanting” Reimer” Reimer is great to watch….No matter what he does has a very big fan base here.

    After Reims at an interview stood up for both himself and Bernier, that they were team mates and that this is a team sport, if you wanted to be a one man team you would be a golfer or a swimmer. and that yes they want to play and be the guy so the competing is there pushing each other to be better but also to be there supporting each other too.

    I decided then that if Reims is good with everything here with the Leafs, than so am I, because he is playing for the team and himself and his career rather it be here or somewhere else..he’s not just sitting back sulking, he’s fighting for him and at this time his team the LEAFS.

    SO ENOUGH ABOUT WHO IS BETTER, BECAUSE IT DOESN”T MATTER……these 2 guys are our Goalies and they will be great together this year and whaatever happens down the rd happens……….Let’s just hope the team comes through for them both at every game and that the team plays as team no matter who is in net…and maybe they have a chance,,,