When you’re on a roster with names like Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf and Colton Orr, just to name a few, it can be hard to stand out.
The media doesn’t seem to pay any attention to you, and when a fan brings your name up in conversation, they are met with confused looks and a response of “Who?”
Toronto Maple Leafs center Tim Brent is one of those guys that gets lost in the shuffle.
However, if he can keep performing like he did in the Maple Leafs’ last two games against the Carolina Hurricanes, it’s going to be hard for others not to notice.
Brent, who has 10 points in 50 games with Toronto this season, did not appear in the Leafs' December match-up with the Canes. However, he made his mark in a January 24 meeting and last night.
Although the Leafs lost to the Canes by a score of 6-4 last month, Brent stood out by posting a three point night.
His two goals included one shorthanded goal, which he scored just 1:11 after he got the Leafs on the board in the third period. And he accomplished all of this in just 10:43 of ice time.
During last night’s game, Brent gave the Hurricanes problems again, but this time, Toronto came out on the winning side.
In the middle of the second period, Toronto had a 1-0 lead over Carolina, and the Canes were using a five-on-three to try and get on the board. They got into what appeared to be perfect position on the ice and tried to throw everything they had at rookie net-minder James Reimer.
But Brent wouldn’t let Reimer's big night be ruined.
Brent threw his body on the ice at three of the Hurricanes’ shots, drawing thunderous applause from the Maple Leafs faithful.
As a result, the Canes were not able to get through. Near the end of the penalty kill, Brent started to have a hard time getting his footing and looked to be in pain.
However, he was not done yet.
As time expired on the Hurricanes’ advantage, Brent, who was on his stomach on the ice, slapped the puck out of Carolina’s zone, drawing even more applause.
The end result was a 3-0 win for Toronto and Reimer’s first NHL shutout. It was also the second win in a row for the Leafs after the All-Star break.
When asked about his performance after the game, Brent refused to take any credit and instead acknowledged the fans for giving him a standing ovation.
“The beautiful thing of playing in Toronto is that most places wouldn’t appreciate something like that and we have the best fans in the world for a reason," he said.
"That’s a prime example of that.” Brent told the media gathered in the Maple Leafs locker room."
He also complimented Reimer:
“He’s given us a chance to win every time he’s played. He’s confident, he’s calm and I think he’s well beyond his years.”
“It’s a thing that you need in a goalie…the goalies are kind of the last line of defense, and if they’re up and down, it can be tough. But he’s very calm in there, and it’s calming for all of us.”
To Brent, he was just doing his job and giving his teammates credit where it's due.
But to the fans, his performance is a highlight reel, and rightfully so.
Toronto is currently 12th in the Eastern Conference with 47 points, and they are likely going to miss the playoffs for another year.
However, when you have someone like Tim Brent literally laying his body on the line for his team, it’s a reminder that good things are to come in Toronto.
Alison Myers is a Featured Columnist for the Pittsburgh Penguins on Bleacher Report. You can contact her by e-mail at Alison.Myers@mail.com or follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/AlisonM_BR.
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