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nights earlie
10/25/18 at 02:00:20
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TORONTO – James Reimer chose his words carefully, but made no secret of his unhappiness. “I dont know if theres a goaltender in the league thats happy when they get pulled,” said Reimer following an eventual 5-4 shootout loss to the Red Wings on Saturday night. The 25-year-old got the hook after just 20 minutes at the ACC – in yet another sloppy first period for the Leafs – yielding three goals to the Red Wings on 12 shots. It was the fourth time in 18 starts that Reimer has been pulled and clearly it stung. “Obviously I didnt want to get pulled,” he said. “Thats the last thing I wanted. I wanted to hang in there. But thats Randys decision. And I respect what he decides. I may not like it, but thats irrelevant. Hes the one who makes those decisions.” Randy Carlyle sensed something amiss with his starting goaltender on the very first shot of the game, one that he says bounced in and out of Reimers glove. “I thought the rebounds were bouncing away from him,” added Carlyle. And though the first goal was a strike of brilliance from Pavel Datsyuk – opposite Torontos fourth line no less – he felt the final two markers were stoppable. The first, a wraparound from Joakim Andersson, was one Reimer admittedly wanted back. The second saw Tomas Jurco camped all alone in front of the net – Jake Gardiner falling down in the corner – able to tuck a backhand through the Leafs netminder. “When a goaltender is in the zone, pucks usually dont go through him,” said Carlyle, “and their third goal went through him.” Two minutes still remained in the period when Jurcos goal made it 3-1 for the Red Wings, but it was at that moment that Carlyle decided to start Jonathan Bernier in the second frame. He told Bernier as much as the team exited the ice after a disappointing opening frame. “When you do that you do that based upon not specifically the individual thats getting pulled,” Carlyle explained, “you do it for your team, that somehow you can get a spark for your team and I thought Bernier came in and did that for us.” The Leafs scored twice in a resilient second period before snatching a temporary 4-3 lead in the third on David Clarksons first goal since Nov. 23. Tomas Tatar would even the action at four with less than seven minutes to go – capitalizing on a turnover by Gardiner along the wall – before Daniel Alfredsson iced the first meeting between the two clubs in a shootout. Though Bernier stepped in and stopped 25 of 26 shots, thus backstopping the comeback, one could understand Reimers displeasure with the quick hook. First, the team in front of him was admittedly far off-point early, standing around, in the words of Carlyle, as Detroit strangled hold of the action. And then there was the effort of the Manitoba native just two nights earlier, his 34 saves effectively carrying the Leafs to an eventual two points against Phoenix. Throw  in the fact that Reimer has been pulled four times already versus zero for  his counterpart in Bernier (despite entering the night with slightly better  numbers) and its easy to understand where some frustration might lie with the  lack of rope from the head coach. “I dont know if I want to really get into that,” said Reimer, who was making three consecutive starts for the first time all season. It was Joffrey Lupul after the game against the Coyotes who observed that “the one thing we know we can count on Reims for is compete level and battle.” And on this night Reimer was not given that opportunity to battle and perhaps thats what stung most of all. “I think thats what any goaltender wants,” said Reimer. “You want that chance to get in there and fight and battle for your teammates and try and get a win. Obviously Randy had other thoughts and hes the coach and hes the one who makes those decisions. I dont. I just try and stop pucks.” Five Points 1. Glass Half-Empty The Leafs actually scored first for the 22nd time this season – Cody Fransons second of the year – but the lead evaporated less than two minutes later on the goal from Datsyuk. “Obviously we didnt have a very good first period,” said Carlyle. “We score the first goal and then we basically stood around for the rest of the period and watched them do their thing. They out-competed us badly in the first period. We thought that there was no way that we could duplicate that period again. We found a way in the second to get our game going.” “We dug ourselves a hole and it takes a toll on you trying to dig out of a two-goal hole like that,” said Lupul, who scored the third Toronto goal on a power-play. “If we take one thing from the game its probably get off to a little better start.” Toronto has been outscored 31-23 in first periods this season, capturing the lead just 10 times in 38 games. 2. Glass Half-Full “If were looking at positives, its the way we battled back in the second,” said Lupul. Just as he did on the opening goal from Franson, it was the effort of Peter Holland on the forecheck that spurred the Leafs second goal and s
  
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