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  • Jun 16
    LOS ANGELES – Anze Kopitar looked skyward, unable to comprehend how exactly he had been robbed by the Toronto goaltender. [b]Cheap NBA Jerseys Store[/b] . Only it wasnt the extended right pad of his old teammate Jonathan Bernier early in the final frame, it was James Reimer, who stole a night that was supposed to belong to the former King. “Amazing,” said Nazem Kadri of the performance. Replacing an injured Bernier for the final two periods Thursday night, Reimer helped halt the Kings eight-game win streak with 31 saves, steering the Leafs to their second victory in the California triangle and perhaps biggest all season. He was brilliant from start (a late one in this case) to finish. The 25-year-old stopped every shot he faced in 40 busy minutes, including one other rewind-and-replay save on Kopitar in a hectic 17-save second frame. Reimer very nearly had to leave the game himself with an injury (more on that in Five Points), but remained in there to guide the Leafs to their 15th win in the past 22 games (15-4-3) and his first personally in nearly two months. His memorable right-pad stop on Kopitars doorstep attempt in that final frame came on a Kings power-play, the save setting the stage for Mason Raymonds eventual game-winner just seven seconds later. “That was probably the TSN Turning Point where he made that huge save and then we went down on the two-on-one and next thing you know were up a goal and we were able to hang on for the rest of the game,” Kadri said. Formerly the Leafs No. 1 in goal, Reimer has endured a trying season, relegated to the undesired backup position for the better part of the 2014 calendar. He was playing in just his third game since late January, making just six starts in the new year. It was two nights earlier on the second stop through California that he and his teammates were shelled by the Sharks, thumped 6-2 at the SAP Center in San Jose. But here on this night against the Kings, who were gunning to match a franchise record with nine straight wins, they found the means to elude the leagues hottest team on the shoulders of an unlikely candidate. Doubted and dissected constantly throughout his relatively brief NHL career, Reimer had not won a game since Jan. 21. His future with the organization, in light of Berniers ascendance, remains an open question certain to be settled in the summer. “I just came in and did my job,” he said. “Every time you get in there its an opportunity, whether its a full game or half a game or 10 minutes or whatnot. … It was just `Go in there and take care of business – dont think about the future or the past or anything like that. You kind of get those thoughts out of your head because they dont help you very much. So I was just trying to focus on what I had to do technically and mentally to stay sharp.” Coming off a terrific 43-save showing in Anaheim on Monday, Bernier was forced to exit his long-awaited return to the Staples Center after just 20 minutes, pulling himself because of a lower-body injury. It was a disappointing return to say the least. “He was a little sore before the game,” said head coach Randy Carlyle of Bernier, who did not speak to reporters afterward. “And we just said if you cant go let us know and after the first period he felt he wasnt going to be able to give us what we needed and we made a decision that wed go with Reimer.” Randy Carlyle said Bernier had been sore before the game. Bernier told them after the first that he wasnt able to continue. Carlyle was unsure of the extent of the injury (lower-body) and couldnt say whether the team would recall Drew MacIntyre from the Marlies for an upcoming game in Washington. Carlyle also defended the decision to keep Reimer in the net after getting his bell rung in a collision with Jarret Stoll, arguing that Stoll had actually hit the shoulder area. The value of owning two quality goaltenders was never more apparent. Five Points 1. Concerning Collision Two nights after James van Riemsdyk remained down on the ice for a moment or two after a thunderous collision with Dion Phaneuf, Reimer experienced a scary collision himself. Racing to corral a loose puck, he was run over by Jarret Stoll, the left leg of the Kings centre catching him square in the head. “It probably wasnt a very good choice,” said Reimer, “but I went for it, tried to shoot it away and he kind of dove for it and I think his knee or his skate or something just hit me in the head and just kind of rang my bell, thats all.” Reimer remained down on the ice for a few moments after the collision before consulting with the teams medical staff in the TV timeout. He opted to remain in the game without undergoing concussion tests. It was a questionable decision considering his injury history which includes a relatively recent battle with concussion and neck concerns – concerns which date back to an incident with Montreal captain Brian Gionta. “Well I dont think he really actually got kicked in the head,” said Carlyle defiantly. “If you really look at the replay, he didnt really strike him in the head. He hit him more in the shoulder area ... And he said he was fine.” “Obviously there [were] thoughts of coming off,” Reimer said, “but I didnt feel that it really warranted that. Obviously you have a little bit of a headache and stuff like that when you get hit in the head like that, but I felt that I was capable to keep going so I stayed in.” 2. Backup to the Backup There was definite chatter on the Toronto bench about what might happen in the event that Reimer could not continue with Bernier already sidelined for the night. “I was sitting beside Bernie and as soon as that happened I told him to take off his pads I might have to throw ‘em on,” said Kadri with a grin. “It would be somebody, but I dont know who it would be,” said Carlyle, joking that goalie coach Rick St. Croix and former goaltender and assistant coach Scott Gordon both declined. “I asked Colton Orr if he ever played goal and he said no.” Carl Gunnarsson was Reimers choice. “I think his dad was a goalie,” Reimer said. 3. Kadris Follow-up Campaign It took 64 games for Kadri to exceed his exploits of last season, registering his career-high 45th point of the year against the Kings before adding a second point later in the evening. While not nearly as explosive productivity-wise as his first full season in the NHL, Kadri has, nonetheless, had a solid follow-up campaign, on pace for more than 20 goals and 50-plus points. “I think so,” said Kadri, asked if hed taken the desired step forward in his second full season. “Especially just matching up against a lot of those top lines and going against those top centremen. Im still a young player whos trying to figure out what my boundaries as a player [are]. I think just matching me up against the best is only going to make me better.” On this night in L.A, Kadri saw a lot of two former Canadian Olympians, matched up against Mike Richards (2010) and Jeff Carter (2010/2014). He created the Leafs first goal on the power-play, finding a diving Dion Phaneuf in the slot, adding a second point – his 23rd in the past 25 games – on Gunnarssons second goal of the year. “The points are going to come,” said Kadri. “I know that. But I want to become a complete player that this team can trust, offensive zone, neutral zone, defensive zone. Thats really what Im striving towards.” 4. Kadri on the Dot Still only 23, Kadri remains a youthful work in progress, the finer points of the game an ongoing challenge. One such challenge has been the faceoff circle. Kadri is amongst the worst regulars in the league (at about 45 per cent), but feels hes slowly starting to figure it out. “Thats the same as all the young guys, Giroux, Crosby, top centremen in the league, their first couple years they were in the league they were under 50 per cent and thats right where I was hovering,” said Kadri prior to Thursdays game. “I think the last few weeks Ive definitely been able to figure out some tendencies and get a lot better in that area.” Seven-of-17 against the Kings, Kadri has won 51 per cent of his draws over the past five games. He ties the recent improvement to watching film “and just being around the league a little more, knowing what certain centremen are going to do … Just a lot of things Im working out as we go.” 5. Rangers Progression Torontos seven-defender lineup has worked in large part because of Paul Ranger, who has become the roving option for Carlyle. The 29-year-old has finally found a fit in the defensive role envisioned by the coaching staff at the beginning of the season. “Its just a will and a determination that I want to be in the lineup,” said Ranger ahead of Thursdays game. “I want to play. I want to be a part of things. Personally, for me, I want to be able to play and I want to play consistently. I want to play to the best of my ability, to continue to rise, to continue to improve my game every day. Just contribute as much as I can.” Ranger was a healthy scratch in 14 consecutive games before he was reinserted into the lineup as the seventh defender on Feb. 6. He had struggled to that point to establish himself as a viable option on the back-end. Bigger physically than his first go-around in the NHL, he is also being asked to perform with more of a defensive lean, a shift from the offensive player he was for the most part in Tampa. His game now is dependent on physicality and an aggressive “body-first mentality”. “Its an adjustment, a process,” he said. “Adjusting to the style of play here has been a challenge, but it is something that Ive accepted and taken on that challenge. Now I feel like for me its almost instinctual now, to play that way.” Dressing seven against the Kings, no Leaf defender played 20 minutes on Thursday. Stats-Pack 35-40 – Toronto penalty kill over the past 14 games. 256 – Shots for Phil Kessel this season, second behind only Alex Ovechkin. 46 – Points for Nazem Kadri this season, a career-high. 19:29 – Ice-time for Dion Phaneuf against the Kings, most among the Toronto defence. 15-4-3 – Leafs record over the past 22 games. 13-22 – Mark for Jay McClement in the faceoff circle on Thursday night. Special Teams Capsule PP: 1-3 Season: 21% (3rd) PK: 3-4 Season: 78.8% (28th) Quote of the Night “I was sitting beside Bernie and as soon as that happened I told him to take off his pads I might have to throw ‘em on.” - Nazem Kadri, on what the Leafs might do in the event of an injury to James Reimer. Up Next The Leafs continue their five-game road trip in Washington on Sunday afternoon. [b]Cheap NBA Jerseys 2021[/b] . -- What Anthony Jennings lacked in experience, LSU more than compensated for with a talented supporting cast in the Outback Bowl. [b]Cheap NBA Jerseys 2020[/b] . They have homered once every 27.3 at bats, which just happens to be the third best mark in the American League, albeit just 10 games into the season.In the May 2 edition of The MMA Report, John Pollock is joined by former UFC heavyweight champion Mark "The Hammer" Coleman to discuss his time as an assistant coach on the 19th season of "The Ultimate Fighter", coming to terms with retirement and his near venture into professional wrestling earlier in his career. Also, MMA journalist Todd Martin (Sherdog, L.A. Times blog, Wrestling Observer) returns to the show to talk UFC 172 aftermath. The MMA Report: Featuring Mark Coleman and Todd Martin You can catch The MMA Report every Friday at 11pm et on TSN 1050 in Toronto. -- Coleman, the former Olympic wrestler, talks about coaching alongside BJ Penn on the UFCs hit reality show and what it was like to lend his knowledge and experience to a new generation of fighters, despite a nagging hip injury. "BJ Penn gave me that offer and its just something that I felt I cant refuse," Coleman said. "I was just so excited to do it ... When I walked through the gym doors, I just kind of, like riding a bike it just came back to me and I gave my heart and all to it and it was probably one of the coolest things I ever got to do. Not probably, it was one of the coolest things Ive ever done in my life." And while Coleman had the opportunity to teach the next wave of fighters, he also admits he leearned a few things himself. [b]Cheap NBA Jerseys Throwback[/b]. "I still was lucky enough. I did get through and I did still get to whoop their butts in straight wrestling because Im still a pretty good wrestler but I would not want to do an MMA fight with these guys or any of these UFC guys any more. Its amazing how far this sport has come," he said. -- Martin, who had the pleasure of covering UFC 172 live from the Baltimore Arena on April 26, says the event lived up to the hype even in an older venue. "From the literal standpoint, not so well. From a figurative standpoint, tremendously," Martin said. "Literally, the Baltimore Arena is a dump, I mean, its a very very old arena that has bee hosting events for decades and its not in a very good shape at all, but its a great building. The acoustics are great, the live crowd, for whatever reason." And for a guy who has been to shows all across the U.S., Canada and overseas, Martin said the fans in Maryland were a big part of a great show. "This show was a crowd that was really super enthusiastic and very knowledgable about the sport," he said. "It was really quite the crowd and it made for a really exciting event ... (UFC president) Dana White, after the event, seemed really enthusiastic aboutrunning Baltimore in the future." ' ' '