Leafs' James Reimer makes statement with win

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer stops Phoenix Coyotes center Antoine Vermette in close at...

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer stops Phoenix Coyotes center Antoine Vermette in close at Air Canada Centre on Dec 19, 2013 in Toronto.(Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports)

STEVE SIMMONS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:58 AM ET

TORONTO - James Reimer jumped. Behind the mask, you couldn’t really see his bright red cheeks, his glowing smile, the look of both exhilaration and excitement for a goaltender and his team in need of something good to happen.

The good came in a win on Thursday night at the Air Canada Centre over the often numbing Phoenix Coyotes. It wasn’t necessarily revealing. It wasn’t putting an end to all that’s wrong with the Leafs. But it was two points. Two points for a goalie needing it.

Two points for a desperate team that still isn’t playing enough desperate hockey.

It was, it turned out, to be payback night for Reimer, who has been the Leafs’ starting goaltender in three of their worst games — maybe their three poorest of the season — when he was left alone with no real help from his friends.

The Leafs were blasted 6-0 at home to Columbus, with Reimer the goalie. They were blasted early in St. Louis, losing 6-3. Reimer was out and angry at 3-0 early in the first period.


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