Cardiac Cats: Panthers win as Reimer, Leafs fade in third
With Jonathan Bernier out sick, it looked like James Reimer might just nab a victory for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Then the Florida Panthers’ domination of the third period happened.
The Maple Leafs carried a 4-2 lead into the final frame after a wild six-goal second period even though the Panthers generated a 29-13 shot advantage through the first 40 minutes of the game. Puck luck swerved sharply in the other direction during the final frame, however, as Florida won 6-4 after scoring four times on just six shots on goal.
Even with one of those tallies hitting an empty net, it’s likely that Reimer will feel the heat in Toronto after this loss.
He’d probably want a few goals back, including Dmitry Kulikov’s first tally of 2014-15:
Randy Carlyle wouldn’t even give Reimer a vote of confidence after tonight’s game, as TSN’s Jonas Siegel reports:
Carlyle wouldn't say if he'd be comfortable going back to Reimer again tomorrow night if Bernier can't go.— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) December 29, 2014
While much of the focus will be on Toronto’s troubles, the Panthers deserve some credit for being tenacious in recent close games:
As of this writing, the Maple Leafs would still grab the first wild card spot in the East while Florida would be on top of the bubble. The Panthers trail Toronto by three standings points, yet have three games in hand, so they might close in on the Buds in the standings in the same way they did during today’s game.