Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
March 14 2014 12:36AM
"Carlyle says... video shows main contact from Stoll was to shoulder" [Masters]
I'm no conspiracy theorist, but I'm starting to think that there's a reason for pretty much every energy drink on the market going on sale in Toronto this week. These games keep getting later and later. 10PM was one thing, 10:30 was torture, and a 10:47 start thanks to a pre-game ceremony? All I'm saying is that I don't regret buying that four pack of Red Bull for $8 a couple nights ago.
Los Angeles opened this game up sprinting, firing at all cylinders in hope of cementing the momentum. Two minutes in, they got their first results. Drew Doughty fired a puck that was redirected off of Jonathan Bernier's pad, off of Marian Gaborik's foot, and into the net to give their big deadline acquisition his first goal in LA. Toronto used a couple of powerplays as a launching pad for a momentum swing, throwing lots of pucks on net, though with limited setup involved. Even with that, they had their moments of lapse, such as having all four penalty killers on the left side of the ice as Anze Kopitar waited for a one timer that gave him his 21st of the year. The third powerplay attempt was the charm, though; Morgan Rielly made a superb play to find Nazem Kadri, who set up Dion Phaneuf to make a rare move on Jonathan Quick for his seventh, just before the end of the period.
James Reimer came out to start the second period, surprising many. But before he had to feel the pressure, the Leafs had more work to do, continuing to tilt the ice in their favour, which lead to a slapshot by Carl Gunnarsson which tied the game at two. The Kings got their act together at this point, and began to really play like the dominant possession team they are. The Leafs gave chase, but they finally seemed to be a bit worn down by the trip and began to lose races they were winning earlier in the game. Reimer ws equal to every task, however, and his best flurry of saves lead to a Leafs shorthanded rush, which ended with Mason Raymond firing home a bullet of a slapshot to give Toronto the lead. Los Angeles kept pressing until the very last second (which made an empty net miss by Nikolai Kulemin look pretty damning), but the Leafs eventually walked away victorious.
Why The Leafs Won
Skipping past the obvious reason, I have to give credit to the Leafs for being able to get their act together in the first period before it was too late. Even if the Kings temporarily widened the gap in the process, things could have been a lot worse if the Leafs continued to let Los Angeles camp out in their zone. Also, full credit to the defence for providing some offence; the Leafs don't have their first two goals if not for Rielly, Phaneuf, and Gunnarsson, and it's good to see after all the issues this team has had with contribution from the point.
When Jonathan Bernier was replaced by James Reimer to start the second period, we were all confused. Was Carlyle unamused with the two goals that Bernier allowed in ten shots? It couldn't be, that's not great but it's a small sample that had some awesome saves mixed in. Did he catch the team's pass-along flu bug, leaving him to have a Luongo moment before puck drop? Did he accidentally go to the Kings dressing room by reflex and get beat up by his former teammates?
Nah, it turns out that he re-aggravated a minor leg injury. Both he and the staff agreed it would be smart to not keep playing on it. So Reimer came in, and had one of the best performances he's had in the blue and white, making a pile of huge saves,, right down to the last few seconds. We had a scare when he needed a few seconds after a collision to get his bearings straight, and the Leafs looked to be goaltender-less, but he went right back to work. I mean, he lost his balance once or twice, and seemed to just be looking for the clock to wind down, but that was all pressure and had nothing to do with-
Carlyle said Reimer was hit in the shoulder on the collision with Stoll. Reimer said it was the head. Yet wasn't taken to quiet room. (Arash Madani)
Reimer said he had his bell rung on Stoll collision. Says he had headache afterward. Did consider coming out of the game. (Jonas Siegel)
Son of a... we just went over this, didn't we? I know that Bernier was injured, that Colton Orr may have had to go in net, and that Reimer pulled off the win, but I still don't like the idea of a goalie who had massive concussion-based setbacks in his career going back in net after having post-collision headaches.
I hope he's okay and that that never happens again. In any event, he was stellar, and the Leafs managed to pull off 4 of 6 points in California. How crazy is that?