SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)- Peter Horachek is turning to goalie James Reimer to stop a losing streak from a club record 11th straight defeat, but some offensive support would sure help.
Perhaps the two trouble spots will finally be solved at once on Friday night at the Prudential Center when the Leafs take on the New Jersey Devils.
“I think Reims is ready for it,” interim coach Peter Horachek said after the morning skate, knowing he’s still facing second guessers for how he used Reimer and Jonathan Bernier on Tuesday in Nashville.
With Bernier out of that game after two periods dealing with a cut on his leg, Reimer jumped in and made four saves while Toronto showed life. But as soon as Bernier told Horachek he was fine, a switch was made again and the Preds scored twice in a 4-3 win.
“I think (Reimer) is ready for a win and I feel confident with him in,” Horachek said Friday. “Bernie played pretty well (in a 2-1 shootout loss here last month). They (tied) it on a screen shot with a forward line that got caught out there a little bit.
“It’s just the time (to use Reimer). We’re going to play back-to-back (against Edmonton at home on Saturday). We’ll go from there.”
That could mean a good game from Reimer leads to another start, depending on what Friday’s workload is. Those shots against have been falling steadily under Horachek, but now the issue is lack of scoring. The Leafs have 10 goals during this frightful streak, which ties the club mark for consecutive losses set in 1967, minus one shootout loss that is part of the modern NHL.
The Leafs need their power play to kick start, but the unit is fired in a 2-for-31 slump, underelying the overall trouble Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak are having on the first line – and the lack of goals from the defence, too.
“We’re not getting very many good breaks, the tap-in or something like that,” Kessel said. “Screens, tips, nothing like that is going in.”
Zone entries have been awful, too.
“That’s a big struggle,” Kessel agreed. “When we get in there, we move it around well and get chances. Getting it in is the most important and when you can’t get it in, it shifts momentum the other way.
“I’m not happy about it (a personal slide of three goals since Dec. 16). I’m disappointed in what’s gone on here. I have to be better and I have to start tonight.”
Cory Schneider, one of the NHL’s busiest goalies, starts for the Devils who have won seven of their past 11, including beating the Leafs.
“You have to stay positive,” Kessel said. “We have to get going here, play good two-way hockey. We’re cold and we have to figure it out tonight.”