Florida Panthers at Toronto Maple Leafs game preview
TORONTO — James Reimer appeared in 207 regular-season games for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
He is a former Maple Leaf now.
When the Florida Panthers goaltender dons his pads at the Air Canada Centre on Thursday night, he will be playing against the Maple Leafs for the first time.
"It will be fun to start here and hopefully steal two points," Reimer said on Wednesday.
The Panthers are making their second visit of the season to the ACC. They lost 3-2 there on Oct. 27 with No. 1 goalie Roberto Luongo making the start.
The visit to the ACC brings back memories for Reimer who was traded to the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 27 and signed a five-year deal with the Panthers in the offseason,
"You’re sitting there remembering the times that this or that happened, this game or that game," Reimer said. "Hopefully this time we can get a win."
Frederik Andersen is expected to start in goal for Toronto on Thursday.
Both team won on Tuesday.
The Panthers (8-7-1) defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in overtime, giving Montreal goaltender Carey Price his first loss of the season and ending the Habs’ 10-game home winning streak. The Panthers have won two in a row since the first two games of the season.
The Maple Leafs (7-6-3) defeated the Nashville Predators 6-2 with James van Riemsdyk scoring three goals and adding an assist with linemate Tyler Bozak earning four assists.
The Maple Leafs are 6-2 at home.
"We want to make this a tough place to come," van Riemsdyk said. "You earn that reputation by how you play at home every night. You just want to find some consistency, whether it’s (with the lineup) or whatever the case may be. I think we’re doing a good job of paying attention to detail. We have some skill and with that combination, it can lead to good things. When you get on a roll, the crowd gets more into it."
Aaron Ekblad scored the overtime winner for the Panthers on Tuesday, breaking his own stick on the shot. The slow-rolling puck was then deflected into the goal by a Montreal player.
"You’ll take those when you can get them," the 20-year-old said. "There’s plenty of times when it should go in and won’t, and I’ve been feeling that so far this season for sure. Maybe a few of us or the team haven’t gotten those bounces but now that we did, we feel confident that we can take that with us."
Panthers coach Gerard Gallant hopes the goal could be the start of a good stretch for Ekblad.
"He’s had a tough go so far," Gallant said. "Aaron’s a guy that gets a lot of points. He’s got three goals so far, he wants to get more points and get more on the board. Sometimes a goal like that will turn things around."
Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock continues to adjust his defense, which has been prone to breakdowns in the defensive end of the rink.
Babcock said that Connor Carrick, who did not play in the previous two games, will return to the lineup against the Panthers with Martin Marincin being left out. Babcock said there was no message to Carrick by sitting him out.
"I don’t like guys to try and read my mind, I tell them exactly what I’m thinking," Babcock said. "Connor’s a good player and we’ve talked to him about staying out of too many physical confrontations, using his skating and his skill more."