Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer admits he didn’t bring his “A” game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
He struggled early but fortunately got better as the game continued and the Leafs managed to earn a point despite a 5-4 shootout loss on Saturday night.
But Reimer says sometimes you have to play poorly to get better and he hopes he’ll bounce back Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre.
“I wasn’t happy with what happened on Saturday. But you get more of a drive to succeed,” said Reimer, who was in goal on Feb. 7 when the Leafs beat the Jets 3-2 in Manitoba. “You get frustrated but you learn from it. You have to get low to get high. It has to hurt in order for you to get better.
“I was happy to be able to stay in there (against Pittsburgh) and shut the door for most of the rest of the game. We battled hard as a team and me personally, I just tried to hang in there and make one more save and keep trying to give us a chance.”
Reimer might get another shot at the Penguins on Thursday when Pittsburgh returns to the Air Canada Centre but his immediate concern is stopping the Jets, who are returning home after a 2-2-1 road trip. The Leafs remain one of the better road teams at 9-5.
Although coach Randy Carlyle never reveals who his starting goalie will be, it would be a complete shock if Reimer didn’t get the start in his home province. He had won six straight before Sidney Crosby scored the winner in Saturday’s shootout.