James Reimer To Start Against Boston Bruins

December 3rd, 2011 No Comments

The Toronto Maple Leafs have announced that James Reimer will start between the pipes tonight when the Leafs meet the Boston Bruins in the second part of back-to-back contests.

Reimer, 23,  has been out of the Maple Leafs lineup with concussion-like symptoms since October 22nd, missing a total of 18 games.

While the Maple Leafs have missed Reimer, they registered a reasonable 9-8-1 record in Reimer’s absence. Combined with Reimer’s 4-0-1 record, the Maple Leafs currently own a 14-9-2 record, good enough for sixth overall in the Eastern Conference and second in the Northeast Division—just one point behind the Bruins, who have two games in hand on the Blue and White.

Boston has dominated the Maple Leafs in all three meetings thus far, embarrassing the Buds by a combined score of 19-5.

The Bruins have owned the Leafs in the physical department in all three games and has had the better goaltending. Bruins starter Tim Thomas owns a 3-0 record against the Maple Leafs this season, to go along with an impressive 1.67 goals against average and a top-notch .944 save percentage.

Bruins forward Milan Lucic has been a Leaf killer thus far, notching five goals and eight points in three games, while Tyler Seguin and Zdeno Chara have also dominated the Blue and White, registering seven points each.

Comparatively, the Leafs biggest offensive threat has been (of all players) Luke Schenn, who has three assists, while Mikhail Grabovski has two goals against the Bruins.

Despite owning the NHL’s third best offense (averaging 3.16 goals scored per game) and second best power play (23.4 percent success rate) the Blue and White have struggled mightily against the big bad Bruins, netting just five goals in three games.

NHL scoring leader Phil Kessel has been stone cold against his former club, registering just one assist against the Bruins—this despite leading the League in goals with 16 and points with 32.

Kessel has not scored a goal against the Bruins in regulation time since February 15, 2011 when he notched two goals, but emerged as a minus two on the night.

For the Maple Leafs to be successful they must use their speed and skill and carefully execute some physical toughness without awaking the giant that is the Boston Bruins—which may be all but impossible.

The Bruins have manhandled just about every opponent this season, culminating in an incredible 12-0-1 record in November. Tim Thomas received player of the month honors for November, but a ton of credit should be directed towards Bruins’ head coach Claude Julien, who has last seasons Stanley Cup winning team looking like a good bet to repeat this season.

Despite owning the NHL’s third best offense (averaging 3.16 goals scored per game) and second best power play (23.4 percent success rate) the Blue and White have struggled mightily against the big bad Bruins, netting just five goals in three games.

The presence of Reimer should help even the score, but with Reimer being out for well over a month, don’t expect a miracle from him and don’t expect the Bruins to go light on the kid.

Maple Leafs forward Mike Brown will be out of the lineup after undergoing back surgery to repair a disk. Given the Leafs lack of truculence as it is, Look for the Bruins to use their superior toughness to try to intimidate the Maple Leafs in an effort to goad the Blue and White into penalties.

Toronto took five unanswered penalties on Wednesday night, which resulted in the team losing its momentum against the Bruins and tiring out their penalty killers.

If the Maple Leafs have any shot of beating the Bruins they will need to get solid goaltending form Reimer, stay out of the penalty box and finally get some offense from their big snipers such as Kessel, Joffery Lupul and Tim Connolly.

Prediction: A closer game, but same result—Boston takes this one 4-3.

Until next time,

Peace!

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