Friday, October 7, 2011
Reimer Rallies Leafs To A Shutout Victory!
It seems like forever since I sat down to write a Leaf Blog. Ok so forever is about 5 months, but it felt longer. I'm not going to run through all the off-season roster moves in detail. If you follow this team, you'll know that Tim Connolly, Matthew Lombardi, John-Michael Liles, Cody Franson and David Steckel are the new additions to the team. Let's cut right to the chase shall we, the 2011-2012 Season Opener against those dastardly Montreal Canadiens.
The first period was one of the worst periods of hockey I've seen. The Leafs were lackluster. Puck possession was non-existent, they couldn't make a crisp pass to save their lives, oh and did I mention were out shot 14-4? Had it not been for James Reimer and some stellar goal tending, Montreal could've easily had a couple goal. Speaking of Reimer, he was perfect the rest of the way with a 32 save shutout win! What a great way to quiet all the over -reacting fans who were worried about his pre-season numbers. Who cares about pre-season? I'd rather him struggle then as opposed to now, you know when it really matters!
If the Maple Leafs hope to improve this year, the penalty killing needs to be alot better then last season. After 1 game, so far so good. Not only were they 5/5 on the PK, they even scored a goal while a man down. Mathew Lombardi and Mike Brown broke away on a 2 on 1 rush and after a couple missed opportunities, Lombardi lifted the loose puck over a sprawled Carey Price. Talk about a feel good story. Here's a guy who missed an entire season due to concussion, and he gets a goal his first game back. For a guy who's supposedly not up to game speed yet, he's fast. At full speed, he might just be the fastest skater on the team. Basically, he's the Leafs equivalent of DC Comics superhero The Flash. Dion Phaneuf got the insurance goal with a rocket of a shot in the third period, capping off a two-point night for the Leaf captain.
Leaf rookies Jake Gardiner and Matt Frattin didn't look out of place. They had solid games. Another player who stood out was newest Leaf David Steckel, a face off specialist to be sure. Going 18/25 on the draw for a 72% total. Travis Green and Peter Zezel would be proud! Even Mike Komisarek had a good game. He didn't even take a penalty. I'll give you all a minute to pick yourselves up off the floor! He used his body, stayed in his own end, and made the safe plays. That's what he needs to do. Don't try to be Mr. Everything, because your not!
After beating the NHL's version of McDonald's small fries (definitely not nearly as good), the Maple Leafs will battle their provincial rivals on Saturday.