Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs: Goalie Controversy Brewing in Toronto?

TORONTO, CANADA - MARCH 19  James Reimer #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates the 5-2 win over the Boston Bruins during game action at the Air Canada Centre March 19, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Abelimages/Getty Images
Jon ReidCorrespondent IIFebruary 6, 2012

It was deja vu Saturday night in Ottawa for the Toronto Maple Leafs and their fans.

For the second time in as many games, Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer managed to keep the opposing team off the score sheet, turning away an astounding 49 shots on goal.

This came three nights after Reimer stopped all 25 shots the Pittsburgh Penguins fired his way.

Reimer's back-to-back shutouts are sure to ignite a goalie controversy in Toronto.

At least this time it won't be a controversy generated by lackluster play from both Jonas Gustavsson and James Reimer, as they've both been playing very well of late.

Since the beginning of the New Year, Leafs netminders have combined for an impressive five shutouts.

In fact, so far in 2012, Reimer and Gustavsson have allowed just 26 goals (plus a shootout goal which does not count towards goals against averages or save percentages) in their 14 games played.

That means the Leafs goalies have allowed just 1.86 goals per game in the New Year and have stopped 374 of 400 shots faced, giving them a save percentage of .935.

So what now for the Maple Leafs? While Jonas Gustavsson has posted three of the five Leafs shutouts and is known to make a flashy save here and there, he also has a habit of allowing weak goals from time to time. That is something the Leafs can ill afford as they make a push for the postseason.

As for Reimer, he has looked sensational in his last two starts and seems to be back to his early-season form when he led the Leafs to a 4-0-1 start before taking a shot to the head from Canadiens forward Brian Gionta.

However, head injuries can be tricky and can resurface fairly easily. Is Reimer at risk start feeling concussion like symptoms again? How much contact would it take to re-aggravate the injury?

These are valid questions as the Leafs begin to play out their final 30 games of the regular season.

Right now, the Leafs seem to have turned around a goaltending situation that had many calling for the team to trade for a legitimate No. 1 goalie to a situation where they currently have two goalies playing like starters.

For now, it is a nice situation to be in. Hopefully Reimer and Gustavsson can continue to shine and remember what has made them so successful in 2012.

 

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