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:: "Its a challenge for both teams." ::

 
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MessagePosté le: Mer 19 Sep - 05:03 (2018)    Sujet du message: "Its a challenge for both teams." Répondre en citant

TORONTO – Before his unlikely heroics on this night, James Reimer wondered whether he had played his final game in a Maple Leafs uniform. And then he had an odd feeling as he left his home in the greater Toronto area on Thursday afternoon, a feeling that he was going to play that night against the Bruins – a game that Jonathan Bernier was to start. He told his wife April as much. “I didnt know why,” he said afterward. “Sometimes you just get those feelings.” His premonition proved on point. Reimer stepped in for the injured Bernier on Thursday night and helped the Leafs keep their slim playoff hopes alive with a 4-3 overtime win – their second straight against Boston. “He gave us a chance,” said head coach Randy Carlyle afterward. “And good for him. We needed that and he needed that. Its great.” It was the second time in less than a month that Reimer came to the rescue for the Leafs. Back in mid-March, he stepped in for Bernier at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and delivered a perfect 31-save performance in what seemed then to be a defining win. But he struggled mightily in the days that followed – .871 save percentage in five starts – a cloud of negativity building as the losses piled for both him and the team. Pulled 10 minutes into a Mar. 23 start in Jersey, his career as a Leaf appeared over. The former No. 1 had become the scapegoat what for ailed the sinking Leafs – his obvious struggles notwithstanding. “I was just focusing on playing the best I can for my teammates and trying to grind out a win,” he said of relief duty against Boston, stopping 10 of 11 shots. “Obviously those are thoughts that kind of go through your mind, but you cant be thinking about that when youve got Chara standing in front of you.” He hopped off the bench and into the net with less than 12 minutes left in the final frame and the Leafs up a goal at 3-2, another third period lead hanging on by a thread. Boston had a power-play too, Paul Ranger punished from shoving Patrice Bergeron into Bernier and thus injuring the 25-year-old netminder. Cold, save for a few stretches in front of the Toronto bench, Reimer jumped in and stopped all three Bruins shots with the man advantage. Bergeron, an infamous nemesis, snuck one by to knot the score at three, but from there Reimer held strong, keeping his teams playoff hopes alive until Nazem Kadri won it in overtime. “Hes the first guy that everyone seems to hop on when our team doesnt do so well,” Kadri said of finger-pointing in Reimers direction last month. “At that point when we were losing the team in front of him just couldnt bring it together and figure things out and obviously the goalies left out there to dry by himself. We felt bad. Now its about time we have his back and step up to the plate.” Cast aside countless times in his Toronto tenure, Reimer might have an opportunity to salvage some good and redeem himself in what are likely his final days as a Leaf. He may just be the guy – with Berniers status in question – the Leafs have to lean on one last time as they fight for playoff hopes that remain thin even after Thursdays timely win. Toronto remains a point back of Columbus – who also won Thursday and holds two games in hand – with just four games left. “Im going to try and go in there and just give the guys a chance,” he said. “Ive got belief in this team. I know weve got the passion and the desire to get it done. Were going to pull together and give it all we got.” Five Points 1. Biggest Goal Kadri played the fewest minutes of his season Thursday, but scored what was easily the biggest goal. The 23-year-old deposited a Cody Franson rebound beyond Bruins backup Chad Johnson. “That was unbelievable,” he said of his 19th marker this season. “Its probably one of the bigger goals of the year that weve scored. We needed it. That was a good Boston team that is relentless. We knew that coming in we werent safe with a one or two-goal lead; that we had to keep fighting to the end and thats exactly what happened.” Dropped to the fourth line against Boston, Kadri played alongside Jerry DAmigo and a rotating cast of wingers. He finished the night with 11 minutes and 40 seconds, given an opportunity on the power-play in overtime. “Obviously I dont control that sort of thing,” Kadri said of his ice-time, which has dipped over the past couple weeks. “Its out of my control and I just worry about trying to bring everything I can for the team every single day, no matter if Im on the first line or fourth line, it doesnt matter to me. Im going to still play my game and try and contribute as much as possible.” Carlyle explained Kadris decreasing opportunity prior to the game. “We felt that Nazzie wasnt moving his feet and he wasnt playing the north-south game, he was playing more of the same east-west game and he was getting caught a lot by back-side pressure,” Carlyle said. “Weve talked to him about it. Weve had discussions about it. Hes got to be stronger down-low.” 2. Injured Bernier, who missed the aforementioned five games in March with a groin injury, put no weight on his left leg as he was helped off the ice in front of a stunned ACC crowd. Labeled a lower-body injury – Carlyle wouldnt say if it was a re-aggravation of the groin issue – he was due to go for an MRI as soon as possible. Seeing his crease counterpart hunched on one knee in the crease, Reimer knew something was wrong and figured hed be going in. “I know what its like to get hurt and you kind of know the body language of a goalie,” Reimer said. “I tried to hop over the bench as soon as possible and start getting warmed up. Obviously youre hoping that hes going to be alright and that he can stay in there because he was doing a heck of a job for us, but obviously wasnt the case. I just tried to do my best and hopefully he can get back soon.” 3. Freeze Catchphrase It was déjà vu of sorts for the Leafs in the final period as the Bruins raced all the way back from a 3-1 lead, scoring twice on goals from Milan Lucic and Bergeron. Under siege for the better part of the frame – they were being outshot 10-1 at one point – Toronto was just hanging on for life – much like Game 7 last spring. Carlyle told his club – which has gone into “freeze mode” on many occasions – to breathe. “Thats been our catchphrase now because you cant do anything if you dont breathe. And thats whats happened to our hockey club is when were freezing were paralyzed,” he explained, before repeating what would seem to have been his advice. “‘Just breathe. Just breathe. Take it easy. Breathe. Well get through it. Do the things that youre accustomed to doing. Believe in the system. Commit to it and just breathe. Relax.” 4. Top Line Scorching in the opening months of 2014, Torontos top line had cooled considerably coming into Thursdays game, specifically their two top guns, Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk. Kessel had only four goals and 10 points in the previous 16 games, van Riemsdyk totaling five and eight in that same span. Both, along with Tyler Bozak, came alive against the Bruins. Kessel initiated a pair of goals from the line, firing a pass off the midsection of Bozak for the Leafs second goal and then finding van Riemsdyk in front of Johnson for the third marker. The latter was the 30th goal of the season for the 24-year-old van Riemsdyk, the first time hes hit that mark in the NHL. “Obviously it was a nice milestone,” he said afterward. As to whats ailed the Leafs top pair, fatigue might be one factor – along with the subsequent bumps and bruises. Both Kessel and van Riemsdyk actually saw their ice-time increase after their Olympic experience with Team USA to nearly 22 minutes per game in March. Carlyle, however, saw the struggles of the man advantage as one reason for their slowdown. “Obviously the power-play is a big part of their opportunity to give us more offence,” he said. “And I think the power-play has been up and down at times for us. Some nights we look real good on it and then some instances within the game it actually has taken energy away from us with our inability to execute on it and not even create scoring chances.” True enough. Empty on Thursday, van Riemsdyk has now gone 22 consecutive games without a single point on the power-play, his last goal coming all the way back on Jan. 30. Kessel has just one power-play point himself in the past 21 games and hasnt scored a power-play goal since Feb. 1. The duo remains 1-2 in team scoring this season. 5. Still Alive Of the Leafs still tepid playoff chances, Carlyle wouldnt jump too far ahead after back-to-back wins. “Were alive,” he said, “but theres a lot of things that have to go our way. All were going to focus on is what we can control and we can control our effort and our commitment to our team game and thats what were going to focus on.” Asked if his team needed to run the table in the remaining four games – opposite Winnipeg, Tampa, Florida and Ottawa – Carlyle responded, “I just worry about the next one.” And that next one comes Saturday against the Jets. Stats-Pack 30 – Goals for James van Riemsdyk this season, the first 30-goal campaign of his career. 11:40 – Ice-time for Nazem Kadri, his lowest of the season. 22 – Consecutive games without a power-play point for van Riemsdyk. 2-2-0 – Leafs record versus Boston this season. 20:29 – Ice-time for Troy Bodie, a career-high and the most of any Leaf Thursday save for Kessel. 79 – Points for Kessel this season, now third in league scoring. 10 – Stops for James Reimer in relief of Jonathan Bernier. 5 – Points in the past 13 games for Kadri, third in team scoring with 49 points. Special Teams Capsule PP: 1-3Season: 20.5% (5th) PK: 2-2Season: 78.8% (28th) Quote of the Night “Wed like to win, thats for sure. Wed like to win as consistently. Those are models that every organization aspires to.” -Randy Carlyle, on replicating the Bruins success. Up Next The Leafs host the Jets Saturday in their final home game of the regular season. Ramik Wilson Rams Jersey . The Arena das Dunas in the northeastern city of Natal sustained minor damage during the protests, but demonstrators stayed away on Sunday and officials said the stadium passed its first test, with only minor adjustments needed going forward. Sam Shields Rams Jersey . After a 10-game skid, winning sure feels good. Atlantas third error in the last two innings allowed Jackie Bradley Jr. http://www.ramsrookiestore.com/Rams-Marcus-Peters-Jersey/ . - The Seattle Seahawks have signed nine players to 2014 future contracts, including quarterback B. John Franklin-Myers Rams Jersey . The kind he has every so often. The kind he has when Dwyane Wade sits. James scored 43 points -- 25 in a bewildering first-quarter shooting display -- and Chris Bosh added 21, leading the Miami Heat to a 100-96 win Tuesday night over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who played their first game without injured All-Star guard Kyrie Irving. Custom Los Angeles Rams Jerseys .Y. - Carey Price had an early feeling that one goal might be enough to settle the latest matchup between his Montreal Canadiens and longtime Original Six foe, the New York Rangers.BROSSARD, Que. - Everything is magnified when the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins meet in the playoffs, and thats how P.K. Subban likes it. The flashy Canadiens defenceman is sure to be a target for the Bruins and the TD Garden fans when the two Original Six teams meet for the 34th time in the post-season. Boston fans tend to boo Subban the same way Montreal fans give it to Zdeno Chara whenever the towering Bruins defenceman touches the puck at the Bell Centre. "It doesnt matter if I like it or Im ready for it because it doesnt really dictate how I play or how this team plays," Subban said Monday. "Thats the most important thing. "If theyre trying to find ways to get me off my game, that means Im doing something right." Montreal is on a lengthy break after sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning in the opening round, while the Bruins will also be rested after eliminating the Detroit Red Wings in five. It will be Subbans second career playoff meeting with the Bruins. In 2011, he had two goals and four points as Montreal won the first two games of the first-round series in Boston before going on to lose Game 7 in overtime. The 2013 Norris Trophy winner expects another long series, but hopes for a different result. "Ive always been a guy thats excited to play in the playoffs because its meaningful and because it seems like the bigger the stage, the better I play and the more I play," he said. " And when I play more I always play better. "I think I learned through that series, going up 2-0 in Boston and then losing in seven games. Its not a fun thing to do, but we were that close to beating them and they went on to win the Stanley Cup that year." The Canadiens won three of four meetings with the Bruins this season, including both games in Boston. But they will still be underdogs against a Bruins side that is little changed from the one that reached the Stanley Cup final last season and won the Presidents Trophy for having the most points this past season. "Im sure people are going to enjoy the series," said Subban. "Im predicting its going to be a long and gruelling series. "Theyre better than they were (in 2011) and its going to be an even tougher series.dddddddddddd Trust me, were not thinking about coming home up 2-0. We know its going to be a grind." The Canadiens tend to counter the Bruins physical play with a game based on quickness and puck pressure. Bostons big men take runs at Subban, who they see as a diver who talks too much on the ice. Subban, in turn, plays some of his best hockey against Boston. "I dont consider that any part of my game," said Subban. "I consider playing well as the biggest way of agitating other teams players — putting the puck in the net, playing physical, having an impact on the game. "That seems to (make people angry) a lot more than talking or chirping." Games between the teams often get nasty, including one this season when Bostons Milan Lucic speared defenceman Alexei Emelin in the groin area. The bad blood has built up over decades of meetings between the teams. It has mostly gone in favour of Montreal, which has a 24-9 record in playoff series against Boston since their first meeting in 1929. The Bruins have won the last two, however. "I knew that part of playing for the Montreal Canadiens is there were rivalries and a lot of history," said Subban. "At the end of the day, well probably talk about it for the next three or four days but once the puck drops, it doesnt matter what rivalry or history there is. "Its just a matter of winning. Then, after the game, well talk abut history and whatever." It wont be the first Bruins-Canadiens series for Montreal coach Michel Therrien. During his first stint with the Canadiens, he won a first-round series in six games over Boston in 2002 before losing in the next round to Carolina. "I was a lot younger at the time and had more hair," said Therrien. "But (Bruins coach) Claude (Julien) has a lot of experience too. "Its a challenge for both teams." To break up the monotony, the Canadiens had a simulated game day on Monday, including a morning skate and an intrasquad game in the evening against mostly call-ups from the AHLs Hamilton Bulldogs. They will take Tuesday off and get back to regular practices on Wednesday. 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