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Leafs chase Reimer, swim past Sharks

November 27, 2021, 2:22 PM ET [65 Comments]
Mike Augello
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The Toronto Maple Leafs usually get victimized by their former players, but that has not been the case with goalie James Reimer. The Leafs ex-starter entered the game with a 2.04 GAA, 6-3-1 record and .936 save percentage, but against Toronto "Optimus Reim" has a career-worst 5.20 GAA and .825 save percentage. That trend continued Friday night in San Jose, as Reimer allowed four goals on 17 shots in 23 minutes before being pulled in a 4-1 Leafs victory over the Sharks (why is that score with Reimer familiar???) at the SAP Center.

William Nylander, Wayne Simmonds, Auston Matthews and John Tavares scored, and rookie Joseph Woll made 34 saves his third straight victory. The Leafs have won six straight on the road and 13 of their last 15 games, moving into a tie with Florida for top spot in the Atlantic.

"There were really key moments that we were really good, but in general I didn't think we were very good with our game at five on five. Penalty killing was good, goaltending was good, but our game five-on-five didn't look anything like it's looked here of late." Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said after the game. "The game was a lot quicker, a lot more open than we would like it to be (and) the way it has been in recent games. We led virtually for the entire game and that creates some challenging dynamics to manage, but in terms of our work, our results and being good at very key moments, those are all really good things for us."

Toronto took an early lead on Nylander’s eighth goal 32 seconds into the game, and bounced back 32 seconds after Nick Bonino’s tying goal to take the lead for good, as Simmonds deflected a David Kampf shot. Matthews and Tavares added to the Leafs lead in the middle frame, and put the game in the hands of Woll, who held off the Sharks in the third, stopping all 16 shots.

"You need to have (the backup coming up big). Jack Campbell can't play every day. It's a long season and we need to be able to give him opportunities to rest." Keefe said. "Giving him the night off allowed us to give him a full day off (on Friday) from the ice in everything between yesterday and today, It's a great opportunity for him and that will pay dividends we believe over time, so it's huge for the team. It's huge for the confidence of Joe Woll, as a developing prospect for us."

Campbell will make the start in the final game of the California road trip on Sunday night in Anaheim, before the Leafs return home to play Nazem Kadri and the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.


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