Maple Leafs 2, Islanders 1
Even a bout with indigestion couldn't slow down James Reimer.
The Toronto Maple Leafs goalie battled nausea during Tuesday night's 2-1 win over the New York Islanders. He even told untested backup Ben Scrivens to be ready during the first intermission, but managed to stick it out and earn another victory.
Reimer was feeling so bad at one point, he was concerned he might vomit on the ice. The team doctor gave him some medicine after the first period that calmed his stomach.
''I was feeling pretty sick during the first period and start of the second, too,'' Reimer said after making 28 saves. ''I wasn't feeling very good. It was a mental battle out there, just trying to be conservative and not do too much.
''It was a tough little bit to play.''
Phil Kessel's goal with less than five minutes to play snapped a tie and gave the Maple Leafs the win.
Toronto has gone 2-0-1 in its last three games despite scoring just four goals, largely because of the solid play of James Reimer. The 22-year-old rookie goalie made 28 saves against the Islanders, denying Jack Hillen with his glove just before Kessel netted the winner.
''He made some big saves,'' Islanders forward Matt Moulson said. ''He was in the right place on the one Jack Hillen had, there was a lot of traffic. I don't even know if he saw it, but it went in his glove.
''He just seemed to be in the right place.''
Kessel skated the length of the ice and scored his 23rd of the season at 15:19, beating Al Montoya with a long wrist shot.
Clarke MacArthur had the other goal for Toronto, 7-2-2 since the All-Star break.
Moulson scored for the Islanders, giving him four goals in two days. Moulson had a hat trick in New York's 5-1 home victory over Florida on Monday.
The game was tied 1-1 heading into the third period as two of the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference tried to keep up their unlikely push for a playoff spot. Toronto is six points behind eighth-place Carolina with a game in hand.
''It's a process we're going through,'' Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. ''Every game is the most important game to play.''
Defensive gaffes resulted in prime scoring opportunities at both ends, but solid goaltending from Reimer and Montoya kept the game tight.
Montoya, the No. 6 pick in the 2004 draft, made his 10th career NHL appearance at age 26 - and started for the third straight time for the Islanders. He stood tall early, denying Joffrey Lupul's bid for his first goal with the Maple Leafs in the opening minutes before turning aside an open look from Nikolai Kulemin.
He was beaten 10:13 in by MacArthur's well-placed wrist shot off the rush. That gave the Leafs winger a career-high 18 goals this season.
Reimer was coming off a rare shutout loss - Ottawa beat the Leafs 1-0 in a shootout on Saturday - and appeared to have luck on his side. Blake Comeau hit the crossbar on a clear breakaway early in the second.
''I think the key to the game for us was definitely James in goal,'' Wilson said. ''He played great and made himself big.''
The Maple Leafs withstood an early parade to the penalty box, but it eventually caught up with them.
Moulson cashed in on the Islanders fourth power play, gathering a rebound at 8:09 of the second period and sliding it past Reimer. It was his sixth goal in three games and 27th of the season.
Notes: Reimer and Montoya went head-to-head in the AHL on Nov. 3, when the Toronto Marlies visited San Antonio. ... The Leafs welcomed back forwards Colby Armstrong (blurry vision) and Mike Brown (shoulder). Joey Crabb was a healthy scratch. ... New York, which had won six of seven, is 19-21-4 since Jack Capuano took over for fired coach Scott Gordon on Nov. 15.