The Toronto Maple Leafs were down 2-0 early but goals by Dion Phaneuf, Carl Gunnarson and Mason Raymond would give the team the 3-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings. The Leafs had a couple of scares though as goalie Jonathan Bernier did not start the second period due to a lower-body injury so James Reimer took over and was spectacular, even after a Jarred Stoll collision that seemed to leave him a little woozy. Reimer denied all of the Kings’ chances he faced en route to the huge Western Conference road win. The Leafs picked up four out of a possible six points in their three games in California. Barring a major collapse (and Leaf fans know all to well about those) it looks like the Leafs will be heading to the playoffs for the second consecutive year, something they have not done since well before the first lockout era.
Leafs realized speed advantage and used it
The Leafs knew that if they were going to beat the Kings or even stay with them, their speed would have to be a factor and it was. The whole game was back and forth but you could tell the Leafs used their speed to create scoring chances as evident by the incredible Mason Raymond goal after Reimer made a crazy save. That was the Leafs’ second short-handed goal in as many games.
Jake Gardiner is growing
Coming off a two-goal game on Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks, Jake Gardiner once again looked impressive. He was one of the few players to have an above-50 per cent corsi at around 52 per cent per extraskater.com. Although he didn’t score, he is such a joy to watch and it was no different tonight.
Goaltender injury concerns
The win was not all roses and smiles as goaltender Jonathan Bernier had to sit on the bench after what is being called a “lower-body injury” which happened just as the second period had started. According to Carlyle though it is a pre-existing injury.
Saviour James Reimer was hit hard after Jarret Stoll apparently had his skate hit his forehead. He would be down before staying in the game and getting the win. Carlyle seems to think it is a shoulder injury rather then a head injury, While Reimer thinks more of the latter than the former making it a very confusing and worrying situation for both the club and its fans. Reimer has had a history of concussion injuries dating back to the Brian Gionta incident in Montreal so having Reimer say it is “just a headache” is very concerning.
The Leafs don’t play until Sunday when they continue their road trip and take on the lowly Washington Capitals in D.C. The break between games could benefit both goalies as the Leafs will need them to be as healthy as they can be for the playoffs.