Well, that was unexpected.
The Toronto Maple Leafs continued their winning ways this evening, downing the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 3-1. Their second win in a row, the Leafs played pretty well for being the least likeable group of athletes that Sportsnet’s Stephen Brunt has ever been around.
Man, I don’t know about all that nonsense. For one, teams are always more likeable when they’re winning hockey games. There’s certainly some players I could do without, but what fan out there actually likes every single roster piece on their favourite team?
When it comes to the Leafs, there’s actually more pieces I like than dislike. Phil Kessel, Morgan Rielly, Nazem Kadri, Jake Gardiner, James van Riemsdyk and both goaltenders. I like them all.
And all those players I like came together for a pretty nice win, limiting the NHL’s best offence to a single goal.
Just over eight minutes into the game Kadri would tip in a Joakim Lindstrom shot for his 17th goal of the season, and the Leafs wouldn’t look back. David Booth would add another, and Tampa Bay would respond with a marker of their own, but Toronto would carry a 2-1 lead into the first intermission and right through the second period.
At the very start of the third, Rielly would restore the Leafs’ two goal lead on a nice cross-ice feed from Kadri, and an even nicer wrist shot, which your boy Thomas Drance GIF’d right here. The Lightning would fail to respond, unable to find any net behind an exceptional James Reimer.
There’s a few guys who you could argue are deserving of tonight’s Blue Warrior title. Kadri had a goal and assist and Rielly was excellent (as usual), but I’m giving it to Reimer. 40 saves and a .971 SV%? Damn, son.
I stated rather simply on Twitter yesterday that Jonathan Bernier is a better goaltender than Reimer, and you know what? I still believe it. If I had to hitch my wagon to one of those guys, I’m hitching it to Bernier. But hey, that doesn’t mean that I don’t like Reimer. He’s had a rough season, but as much as it hurts the tank, it was good to see Reimer dominate this evening. Full marks.
Back At It In Buffalo
Toronto will travel down the road into Sabres territory tomorrow night, facing off against Buffalo tomorrow night. Tune in to Sportsnet at 7:30pm.