“You don’t critique a win, you take it and move forward,” said Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle. This hockey game featured the Leafs battling a slumping New Jersey Devils squad that was, at times, a snooze fest because of the defensive trap. If there was a belief that the Maple Leafs could skate away with a victory against New Jersey, that thought was due to the outstanding play of Leafs goaltender James Reimer.
There is no second-guessing when asking the question: who won the game of boys in blue? The answer is obvious. A night of great offense for Toronto was not in the cards. Frankly, the blue and white got caught in the Devils’ trap.
The game was strictly a defensive showdown. After 40 minutes, the Maple Leafs had five shots on Martin Broduer and that’s no typo. In this game which was played inside the Air Canada Center, the live fans in attendance saw a gritty game. Even though the Leafs didn’t have many shots on nets they were ahead in many other areas, such as hits and penalty minutes. The Leafs had five penalties and crunched New Jersey with 50-plus hits. This game was one for the band-aids and ice packs.
Although it wasn’t a pretty win for the Maple Leafs, it was a great performance put on by Reimer.
In the victory, the young net minder stood on his head to give the Leafs a chance to win. The Winnipeg native stopped 32 shots en route to adding a W in the win column. With the win, Toronto’s magic number to secure a position in the postseason now becomes four. The Leafs’ next game is on the road against the Washington Capitals Tuesday night.