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At the Rink: Jets at Maple Leafs

by Mike Brophy /

TORONTO -- James Reimer and the Toronto Maple Leafs will try to make it two wins in a row when they host the Winnipeg Jets at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; SN, SN1).

Reimer, 27, was in goal when the Maple Leafs won 4-1 against the Dallas Stars on Monday for their first home win of the season. Following the game Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said he'd go back to Reimer against the Jets, and if he wins that game he'll continue to play.

That was music to Reimer's ears.

"Like I have been saying, you want to get the opportunity to in there and play well and win games and get the chance to start again," Reimer said Wednesday. "Whatever the stipulations are you get another chance. And if you play well you hope you get the chance to be there for the boys."

At the start of the season Babcock indicated he was leaning toward goaltender Jonathan Bernier getting most of the starts. But Bernier is 0-6-1 in seven games and is out of the lineup because of a lower-body injury. Antoine Bibeau was recalled Tuesday from Toronto of the American Hockey League to be the backup.

Reimer said he never was worried about his personal situation.

"It is what it is," Reimer said. "I have confidence in my ability and what I can do so when I get in there I just do what I can. I believe in myself and everyone who means anything believes in me. That's all you can count on."

Babcock was pleased with Reimer's performance against Dallas, but was unhappy that the Maple Leafs allowed 44 shots on goal.

"After two periods we had the scoring chances as 10-7 for the Leafs," Babcock said. "It was 7-1 for them in the third so when you get a little careful and you start backing up and giving up too much, that's really not how to do it.

"I thought [Reimer] got better as the game went on. He was nervous early, it appeared, and he got more confidence as the game went on and that is great for him."

The Jets will try to rebound from a 5-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday. Leading scorer Blake Wheeler was held without a point against Montreal but has been one of the hottest scorers in the NHL dating to last season.

The 29-year-old right wing finished last season with 10 goals and 17 points in his final 18 games, and this season has six goals and 14 points in 12 games. As productive as he has been, Wheeler said he is more concerned with playing a two-way game.

"My game is not predicated on whether or not I get points," Wheeler said. "I go out there with the mindset that I am going to compete as hard as I can for 60 minutes. Some nights it works and you get the results you are looking for and some nights it doesn't work. I just find night to night you give yourself and your team the best chance to have the best game possible if you are willing to compete for 60 minutes."

Wheeler said coach Paul Maurice has helped him feel comfortable in the Jets' system, which has been why he has been so productive.

"When Paul came here he made it OK to be comfortable in low-scoring games," Wheeler said. "It helped you not press as much. If you don't have much going on offense you can still make an impact on the game in other areas. Typically when you are doing that you find yourself creating more offense just by playing a complete game."

Here are the projected lineups:


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault - Mark Scheifele - Nikolaj Ehlers

Alexander Burmistrov - Adam Lowry - Drew Stafford

Anthony Peluso - Nic Petan - Chris Thorburn

Toby Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien

Ben Chiarot - Tyler Myers

Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba

Ondrej Pavelec

Michael Hutchinson

Injured: Grant Clitsome (back), Andrew Copp (upper body)

Scratched: Adam Pardy, Paul Postma, Patrice Cormier


James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Leo Komarov

Shawn Matthias - Nazem Kadri - Joffrey Lupul

Daniel Winnik - Nick Spaling - PA Parenteau

Michael Grabner - Byron Froese - Brad Boyes

Dion Phaneuf - Jake Gardiner

Matt Hunwick - Morgan Rielly

Martin Marincin - Roman Polak

James Reimer

Antoine Bibeau

Injured: Stephane Robidas (lower body), Scott Harrington (upper body), Jonathan Bernier (lower body)

Scratched: Rich Clune, Peter Holland

Status report: The Jets called up Cormier from Manitoba of the AHL on Wednesday and placed Copp on injured reserve. … In six AHL games Bibeau is 5-1-0 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .908 save percentage.

Who's hot: With one goal and two assists in a 4-1 win against the Dallas Stars on Monday, Rielly took over the Maple Leafs scoring lead with eight points. … Lupul had two goals against the Stars and leads the Maple Leafs with five. … Wheeler has two goals and three points in his past three games.

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