Sunday, February 5, 2012

Reimer finally finds the zone

Once goalies find that zone, they are tough to beat so fortunately for the Leafs and Leafs Nation James Reimer has found his groove again. Okay, it may not be so good for Jonas Gustavsson but he will get his starts. But you just know Coach Ron Wilson will be going back to Reimer after he completed his 49-shot shutout in the 5-0 win over Ottawa.

Last night's game was the Maple Leafs at their best which can be pretty good. Not too much you can criticize the visitors for last night although it sounded like a home crowd for the Leafs. Here are the highlights:
  • Reimer was clearly the first star with the 49-shot shutout, his second in two games. Reimer faced 21 shots just in the second period. Not to take anything away from his performance but the Sens were taking a lot of bad angle shots because the team in front of Reimer reduced Ottawa's scoring changes although maybe not the number of shots on net.
  • The line of Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul and Tyler Bozak broke out of a 4-game slump with 8 points. In particular Phil Kessel was dangerous all night long. He scored his 27th which puts on pace for a 42-goal season. Lupul scored his 54th point which is now his career best.

  • The defense has contributed to the scoring all season which provides so much more scoring depth. Last night the defense scored 3 goals with contributions from Luke Schenn, Dion Phaneuf and Cody Franson.

  • Despite giving up 49 shots, team defense was excellent. The Sens actually had few good scoring opportunities. Once again the penalty killing was perfect and now has killed off 22 straight penalties. I wonder how the penalty killing turned around so dramatically. My sense is that there may have been an internal coaching coupe but nothing will be said externally. But perhaps that explains why Brian Burke has been so aggressive in his defense of Wilson.
  • Not just the penalty killing was good but the powerplay was extremely dangerous last night. The puck moved around from player to player at a very rapid pace and kept the Ottawa penalty killers off balanced. Over the past years we have seen a Leafs powerplay that has been frustrating to watch as the players made slow and calculated passes as if waiting for the opposition to break down on their own. The return of John-Michael Liles has given the powerplay a huge boost.

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