Friday, March 4, 2011


The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a playoff race in the NHL's Eastern Conference. Could you imagine uttering those words about two and a half months ago? I certainly couldn't. A 4 - 0 - 2 record in their last six games, has seen the team collect 10 out of a possible 12 points. That stretch sees the Maple Leafs sitting in 10th place, a minuscule 3 points out of the 8th and final playoff spot. Even more tantalizing is that 7th spot is only 4 points out of reach. During those six games, the Leafs beat the Islanders, Canadiens, Penguins, and the conference leading Flyers. A shootout loss to the Penguins, and an overtime loss to the Thrashers garnered the team two valuable points.

James Reimer has been the force behind this playoff push. This guy is simply unbelievable. His precise positional play,calmness, and jubilant attitude toward winning is infectious, and has caught hold of the entire team. Reimer has a record of 12 - 4 - 3, with a save % of .929, and a goals against average of 2.28. His new nickname in Toronto is Optimus Reim. Quite fitting, since he is standing tall and leading the charge. In last nights game in Philadelphia, Reimer was outstanding in the first period, making several key pad saves to keep the team in the game. Then in the final minute, Reimer made two astounding glove saves to preserve the win for the Maple Leafs. Clearly, their is more to this young goalie then meets the eye.

Not to be outdone is Phil Kessel. After a scoring slump of fourteen games, the shackles have come undone, and Kessel is a scoring machine once again. In his last 16 contests Kessel has 15 points, 8 of which are goals. Captain Dion Phaneuf has also risen to the occasion. Since the Kaberle trade, Phaneuf's ice time has risen to about 30 minutes per game. He's scored 2 key goals in the last six games, and was the architect of Grabovski's overtime winner against the Penguins. The Maple Leafs look to inch closer to the playoffs, when they battle the Stanley Cup Champion, Chicago Blackhawks Saturday night in Toronto

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