Two shutouts and the NHL third star of the week honour might not be enough to get James Reimer another start in his home province.
While Reimer is set up to play the Edmonton Oilers on Monday at the Air Canada Centre, coach Ron Wilson is thinking big picture and at present, wants Jonas Gustavsson to get back in action on Tuesday in Winnipeg.
That was a game Reimer had circled after losing his first game there on New Year’s Eve. But Reimer is a victim of his own success, with back-to-back shutouts that likely erased what would have been Gustavsson’s home start on Monday. Under the right circumstances, the Morweena, Man., native might play Tuesday, but that depends on the Edmonton game.
“I know well enough that if you start thinking about tomorrow, then today will be a bad one,” Reimer said Monday morning at the ACC. “I’m just trying to focus on tonight.”
Reimer said earlier that he wouldn’t sit on the end of the bench “like a sour suck” if he didn’t get to play in front of friends and family in Winnipeg.
“More than likely the Monster is playing tomorrow,” Wilson said. “We’ve got 15 games in 31 days, so you’re going to see both our goalies playing. We’re confident with either one. We need both to play well with the schedule we have.”
The Leafs are bracing for Edmonton’s Sam Gagner, whose 12 points in three games — eight in one night — made him the league’s first star of the week.
“It’s a lot harder to get eight points in a month, let alone one night,” Wilson noted. “Right now, we have to be aware of him.”
Toronto defencemen Dion Phaneuf and Carl Gunnarsson will likely get lots of playing time against the line of Gagner, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, though Wilson says the Oilers have several weapons to track.
The Leafs take a 14-game streak of penalty kills into the Edmonton game.
“It just seemed to click,” Wilson said of being buried in 30th place at one time. “We just talked about it. We had just got so low that we stopped worrying about what was going to happen (with the negative reviews).
"In one game, we all seemed to get on the same page. We had solid galtending and became better disciplined. We’ve only been short 22 times (since early January), so think about that.”
No other lineup changes are planned by the Leafs, meaning Mike Komisarek, Darryl Boyce and Jay Rosehill will sit again.