GDT: Four point afternoon in Atlanta
Marlies Update: The Marlies couldn’t solve Moose netminder Eddie Lack, who turned away all 33 shots in a 1-0 Moose victory. Nazem Kadri mixed it up in two separate scrums late in the contest. Gotta love the fire. Gustavsson stopped 29 of 30 but did kick out a juicy rebound on the game winner. Tough loss.
It’s quite a lineup for the Blue and White enthusiast today as the Leafs and their farm team play a double header with playoff implications. At 5 p.m. the Leafs kick off their second game in under 24 hours against the eleventh placed Atlanta. With a win the Leafs pull within three of eighth placed Carolina and distance themselves by three from their opponent. With a regulation loss, they’d fall back to eleventh and remain five back of Carolina with no games in hand.
The Thrashers and Leafs are traveling on two different trajectories as of late as the Thrashers have won only one game in regulation in their last ten while the Leafs have picked up at least a point in nine of their last ten. The need to play a neat road game is crucial for the Leafs coming off a wild 65-minute game last night against Pittsburgh. Anything resembling last night’s defensive breakdowns will be a recipe for disaster for a Leafs team that won’t be at a 100% physically.
It will be interesting to see how Reimer responds to last night’s rocky performance. It could be a blessing to get right back at it and put yesterday behind him but it will also put his conditioning to the test. There’s no way Reimer will be 100% physically so the team in front of him will have to do a much better job limiting shots to the perimeter and clearing the case. The Pens were too easily allowed to operate under the hashmarks and if we see a similar effort from the Leafs D you’d have to fear for even the seemingly unflappable Reimer. This probably isn’t the preferable scenario to have Optimus play both weekend games but it seems Giguere isn’t yet ready to return.
Chris Mason will get the start for the Thrashers. He’s 7-8-3 with a 3.64GAA and .890 SV%.
It’s a game that will test the Leafs’ endeavour, for sure. If they can put in a gutsy effort and pull two points out of Atlanta, they would go a long way in making a believer out of me as far as these post-season hopes go.