James Reimer had an off night, to say the least, against the Lightning. After being arguably the biggest reason that the Toronto Maple Leafs are in a playoff race at all for the better part of two months, "Optimus Reim" has every right to be tired.
Just don't tell him that.
When asked if his fatigue was an issue while giving up five goals in just 29 shots, Reimer said that although he could use fatigue as an excuse, he won't. "Even if that was the case," Reimer said, "I'm a professional athlete and you have to find ways to stay focused and keep your head in the game and keep your body at a competitive level.''
In 24 starts this season, Reimer is 13-7-4 with a goals-against average of 2.68 and a save percentage of .918. To put that into perspective, if Reimer had been the starting net minder for the Leafs this season, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that he would already have 30 plus wins.
While Reimer wouldn't make his exit until the 8:47 mark of the third period, Colby Armstrong took a wrist shot off of the toe of his skate around the midway point of the second period and broke his foot.
Armstrong's overall tenacity will be sorrily missed by the team as it tries to make its way to the postseason for the first time since the lockout.
Ron Wilson said that Matt Lashoff was on his way up from the Marlies to add some defensive depth and hopefully shore up the defense in the 5-6 spots. Lashoff, however, needs to clear waivers in order to join the Leafs, a risky proposition for a decent defenseman this time of year—especially when the Canucks may be short a D-man after their game last night against the Wild.
The arrival of Lashoff will be timely in that it will allow the Leafs to move Lebda to a fourth-line forward position and negate the need for another call-up while the Marlies are in a playoff race of their own.
The Leafs are 3-1-1 when their captain scores but have been unable to score in the first period a remarkable 36 times this season.*
The Leafs face the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday night in what is, as all games will be from now until the end of the season, another must win.
*I was unable to verify this number; it was heard during the AM640 Radio broadcast of last nights loss to the Lightning.