FORT LAUDERDALE - A playoff race does not seem like the ideal time to shake off weeks of accrued rust.
But that’s exactly what Maple Leafs goaltender J-S Giguere will have to do Thursday night against the Florida Panthers after watching rookie James Reimer start the past 13 games including a crucial 3-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday in Raleigh.
Having battled groin and hip problems all season long, Giguere is pumped about getting the call to start again. He did step in in relief of Reimer in the third period of Monday’s 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Air Canada Centre.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Giguere said. “This is a fun time of year, especially the way we’ve been playing.”
Giguere said he is not concerned about tweaking the injury again.
“I know where I’m at with it” Giguere said. “I understand what’s going on and I’m comfortable with the situation.”
Coach Ron Wilson bristled when he was asked if Reimer was getting fatigued.
“I’m sick of hearing that,” Wilson snapped. “(Cam Ward) has played I don’t know how many games, 63 games. He’s not tired, but Reimer is?
“If I don’t play Reimer, I’m an idiot, so let’s leave that rest. Reims isn’t tired.”
Indeed, expect Reimer to be back between the pipes on Saturday when the Leafs host the Boston Bruins at the ACC.
Entering the second leg of back-to-back games, the Leafs did not have a morning skate on Thursday. With Mike Komisarek out with a lower body injury, Brett Lebda is expected back in the lineup on the blueline.