Maple Leafs coach looking for his goalies to step up

Leafs goalies James Reimer and Ben Scrivens practice at the MasterCard Centre Tuesday, March 19,...

Leafs goalies James Reimer and Ben Scrivens practice at the MasterCard Centre Tuesday, March 19, 2013. (Dave Thomas/Toronto Sun)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:16 PM ET

TORONTO - When he had two hot goalies, Randy Carlyle was secretive about which was starting.

But after both James Reimer and Ben Scrivens hit a bit of a wall in the Maple Leafs’ five-game losing streak, the coach is thinking out loud about the best way to have a No. 1 re-emerge.

With the Tampa Bay Lightning in town on Wednesday, it will likely be Reimer getting another chance after Scrivens was pulled after two periods on Saturday against Winnipeg. Reimer did stop the bleeding in the third and then made eight of nine saves in the shootout. But Scrivens started a couple of games after relieving Reimer in his last start in Winnpeg.

“We’d like for someone to show us they’re going to grab the net,” Carlyle said Tuesday at the MasterCard Centre. “We’re no different than anyone else.

“We at one point thought of alternating them - ‘this is your start tomorrow and it’s the other guy’s the next day’. Go with the opposite until they prove that out. Those are all the things you run through the back of your mind. If you make that decision, go with it, and if not, wait for the guy to emerge. Before Reimer was hurt, we thought we were pretty close to that.”

As to whether he’d seriously consider a set rotation, Carlyle remembered he’d been part of such a plan in some past coaching life that had ended in playoff disaster.

“I think about about a lot of (ideas),” he joked.

Reimer was up for anything that would get him back on his game.

“There are pros and cons with both (a set rotation and a game-by-game experiment),” he said. “We’re competitors, but we have a good relationship. We’re going to keep pushing each other. Technically. I’m over .500 (9-4-0-2). But I know it’s ‘what have you done for me lately?”

The visit of the Lightning marks the second of three games against teams below the Leafs in the standings.

“They’re a hockey club that’s just trying to find their way,” Carlyle said, noting they have the right ingredients for a winner with Steve Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and diminutive newcomer Cory Conacher. “They had a big win over Philadelphia (Monday) so you know they’re coming in on a high.”

The Leafs lost 4-2 in Tampa in this year’s only meeting.

“I was able to watch a little bit of last night and you see how much speed they have up front and how dynamic they are,” winger James van Riemssyk said. “You have to make sure you are on your toes defensively and try to create some turnovers and go the other way.

“The key is be strong on the walls, because they are a team that likes to get in there, get on the wall and try to pin in your zone, so you have to make sure you are making hard plays on the wall.”

The latest of Carlyle’s machinations with the lines on Tuesday saw slumping Mikhail Grabovski back on a more established line, centring Matt Frattin and Clarke MacArthur.


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