BY: JEFF Schneberk
The Leafs were down 2-0 early but goals by Dion Phaneuf, Carl Gunnarsson and Mason Raymond would give the Leafs the comeback win in Los Angeles.
As important, they take four of a possible six points from a road trip that not many so-called experts ever game them a chance of even capturing an OT or SO loss point.
“We need every point we can possibly get,” insists Head Coach Randy Carlyle, who added that he believes the team is already in “desperation mode.”
We found a way to gut it out.”
Carlyle credited Phaneuf’s goal, which was possibly the nicest he has scored all season.
“Dion’s goal was a power play goal, I think, then we started skating.”
The goaltending helped huge, too, he said.
“With Reimer replacing Bernier…he shut the door. Big time.”
Carlyle also noted that this time Reimer wasn’t giving up any rebounds.
“The rebound control was definitely in his favour.”
Coming off a 2 goal game on Tuesday against the Sharks, Jake Gardiner once again looked impressive. He was one of the few players to have a above 50 percent Corsi at around 52% per extraskater.com he although did not score he is such a joy to watch and was no different tonight.
And despite the Herculean efforts by possibly the best 1-2 punch for goaltending duos in the National Hockey League, there should be some concern over the stability of Reimer and Jonathan Bernier.
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.
It was great to complete the western road swing with two wins but at least one of those two goaltenders will not be available to play Sunday in Washington or next Tuesday in Detroit.
And the final two weeks of March has eight games on the schedule.
While saviour James Riemer was hit hard after Jarred Stoll apparently had his skate hit the forehead of Riemer. He would be down before staying in the game and getting the win. Carlyle though seems to think it is a shoulder injury rather then a head injury, While Riemer thinks more of the latter than the former making it a very confusing and worrying situation for both the club and its fans. Riemer has had a history of concussion injuries dating back to the Brian Gionta incident in Montreal so having Riemer say it is “just a headache” is very concerning.
Apparently whatever Stoll did isn’t even a memory. Reimer was asked afterwards what happened on the Stoll play.
“I’m not even quite sure,” he responded. “I went for it (the puck) to try and shoot it away and dove for it. His knee, or skate just hit me in the head.”
Getting back to the scoring for a second here, LA made things look bad early, Anze Kopitar scored and Marian Gaborik got his first as a King. Both goals were nice.
Then Dion Phaneuf scored what was probably his nicest goal as a Maple Leaf (he did what Kadri did a few weeks ago in that game where he nearly had the hat trick, found himself in alone, put on a single deke, and beat the tendy to the far side. Nice move, Dion. Also quite interesting that it was Kadri’s puck sense that resulted in that opportunity, making a no-look pass with two Kings trying to kontrol Kadri in the korner
That cut the LA lead to 2-1 in the second period. Blueliner Carl Gunnarsson’s shot from the point had Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick moving the other way and the puck sailed into the corner to tie the game up at 2-2.
The goal was Gunnarsson’s second of the season. Here it is
That set the stage for what would be the GWG, Mason Raymond absolutely blowing one past Quick with 14:54 remaining in the game, top corner, glove side, beauty.
I think the best part of it was it was a shortie. Shorthanded goals are awfully hard to recover from in pro hockey. LA nearly did it but that guy named Reimer completely shut the door.
The other nice thing about watching this game was seeing the LA Kings wearing their throwback jerseys in purple and gold.
I think the only thing that did not go in Leafs’ favour last night (asides from the goaltending situation) was Nikolai Kulemin’s missed empty netter that would have sealed the victory with 22 seconds remaining. So that meant Reimer was going to have to come up big one more time, and that he did.
Also, last night’s game might have been the first I have ever seen where both Leaf goalies get called on, and both make phenomenal saves.
Kadri recorded his 45th point of the season last night.
Apparently after the Bernier injury, and after Reimer was hit by Stoll, Leaf Dman Gunnarsson and forward Kadri said they would step up and dress in Reimer or Bernier’s pads. What a team!
Coach Carlyle even asked Colton Orr if he had even played in net before. His response was ‘no’.
James Reimer’s biggest save followed immediately by Mason Raymond’s winning goal Here it is