With the Toronto Maple Leafs win coming in another shoot-out against the rival Ottawa Senators, we should start to wonder on how long will the goaltending dual of James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier last? I am not talking the great competitiveness between the two, but their sanity!
Another night of flying rubber coming at Reimer would drive anyone crazy and wonder if his team-mates actually like playing in front of him. One observation came from Carl Gunnarsson that he thinks there is a conspiracy, speaking sarcastically to The Leaf Report,
“You know what? I think it’s a conspiracy… I think the guys counting the shots, they’re doubling up on it.”
Just a couple of nights ago against the Dallas Stars, Jonathan Bernier faced 50 shots and saving 48 of them to stop the 5 game slide the Leafs were on. Then last night in Ottawa, Reimer back stops the Leafs to a shoot-out win while turning away 47 shots of the 50 that came his way.
Now wouldn’t you as a goalie of this team start to really wonder what the heck is going on with the guys playing in front of you? But again after his ‘tongue-in-cheek’ remark Gunnarsson had this to say,
“When we get those wins on a night like this, it’s their win… We need them right now and they’re really showing up.”
A simple explanation can be given to the account of all this really. The Leafs need to play the style of game they were playing more of last season which was in your face, fast pace move the puck forward as quick as possible and cycle it low in the opposition’s end zone and drive to the net.
As coach Randy Carlyle also stated after last nights game,
”When we skate and we attack we can be a hockey club that can have success… And when we sit back and receive the game, we allow the opposition to dictate the pace of the game.”
This is all fair to say and it should be a game plan to follow which could ease the shot totals a bit but nothing the less, the Leafs are forcing their goaltenders to be terrific on too many nights.
They have been averaging 37 shots per game against this season, most in the NHL and to continue to do so will eventually make matters only worse for the goal-tending dual of Reimer and Bernier.