When James Reimer went down with a knee injury midway through the second period in last week’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Leafs Nation went in to state of panic. However, Scrivens came to the rescue and went on to allow just 1 goal on 33 shots and the Leafs went on to win the game 5-2. Reimer’s injury has been diagnosed as an MCL strain, a short-term injury that is usually healed within a few weeks.
On Valentine’s Day Scrivens allowed 3 goals on 33 shots in a 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Since then he has bounced back. He went on to make 34 saves on Saturday night to earn his first career shutout against the Ottawa Senators. On February 18th against the Florida Panthers he made 37 saves to post his second consecutive shutout. Despite only playing in 8 of the teams 16 games, Scrivens is third in the NHL in both save percentage (.939) and shutouts (2).
“I said it two days ago, a shutout is a team stat, it’s not strictly a goaltender stat,” Scrivens said. “The guys did a great job killing penalties, blocking shots, making smart plays at both the offensive and defensive blue lines and letting me see the puck. So, much of the credit goes to them.”
With Scrivens playing the best hockey of his young career and Reimer’s status listed as day-to-day, it is clear that the Leafs have a little bit of a goalie controversy brewing that is ironically identical to that of the Vancouver Canucks.
After a shaky start Leafs’ captain Dion Phaneuf has 6 points in his last 5 games for a total of 7 points in 16 games so far this season. Mark Fraser is continuing to impress Leafs fans as he has a combined + 13 rating in 13 games. He sits 5th in the NHL in the +/- department. Nazem Kadri is also continuing to produce. The young centre man has 5 goals and 9 assists for 14 points in 16 games. He is also staying disciplined with only 6 PIM this season. Tyler Bozak and Mikhail Grabovski are continuing their winning ways in the face-off circle. Bozak is one of the top face-off men in the NHL with 57.3 per cent and Grabovski is at a respectable 52.1. Phil Kessel scored the game winner against the Panthers on Monday night. He now has 3 goals and 9 assists for 12 points so far this season.
As a team the Leafs are 10-6-0 so far this season. They are off to their best road start since the 1940-41 season with a 7-2-0 record away from home. They trail the North East Division leading Montreal Canadiens by just 1 point. In their last 5 games the Leafs are 4-1 outscoring their opponents 18-3. With lacklustre performances in recent years the Leafs finally look like they mean business. Will this be the first year since 2004 that the Leafs make the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
Clayton Theriault is a 20-year-old student from Oakville, Ontario, Canada. He is currently in the process of obtaining his print journalism diploma at Sheridan College. He is currently an at-large writer for The Hockey Writers.