Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

James Reimer Blinks: Jonathan Bernier Leads Leafs to Victory

Well, that didn’t take long. James Reimer was the first goalie to blink this season. Letting in four goals on 21 shots, Reimer was pulled from the game in favor of Jonathan Bernier. Bernier more than did his part, keeping the Leafs in the game as they fought back from a 4-2 deficit to win 5-4 in a shootut.

Stopping all fifteen shots he faced, allowing Joffrey Lupul and James van Riemsdyk to score goals that would tie the game. After a overtime that involved a late powerplay for the Leafs that nearly ended the game, Mason Raymond scored in the shootout while Bernier stopped Milan Michalek and Jason Spezza in the shootout.

Raymond had quite the game, also scoring in regulation while adding two assists. Nazem Kadri scored the other goal for Toronto.

The Leafs were lucky to win this game as this game represented what might have been the sloppiest play of this early season. Reimer didn’t help the case as he wasn’t there to bail the Leafs out for their mistakes. Once Bernier came in, the Leafs got slightly better. However, Bernier still saved the Leafs skin more than a few times.

Some of those mistakes were made by the defense pairing of Cody Franson and Morgan Rielly. On Cory Conacher‘s goal for Ottawa, Franson was stripped of the puck not three feet in front of the net. Conacher took it and put it the net, giving the Sens the 2-1 lead.

Despite early mistakes, Randy Carlyle continued to lean on Rielly. As the game wore on, the young defenseman didn’t look out of place and if he can continue to play like he did in the second half of the game, it’s not farfetched to believe he’ll stay with the Leafs all season.

Now, back to the goalie situation, Bernier is sure to get the next start against Colorado on Tuesday. If he continues to be the steady force in net  that he has been in his two appearances, he should earn himself the oppurtunity to start in Nashviller on Thursday.

However, Reimer will get another chance within the next few games to prove that last night wasn’t a fluke. If he does, he’ll get more starts. If he doesn’t, he might find himself sitting on the bench than not.

The Leafs shootout victory was their first since the 2011-12 season.

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