TORONTO - James Reimer's 2014 pre-season debut went like many of his previous starts with the Toronto Maple Leafs during happier times.
The Leafs were out-shot and forced Reimer to keep them in it, and the goaltender was up the task in his half of Wednesday night's split-squad game against the Ottawa Senators at Air Canada Centre. Reimer had a perfect showing with 18 saves, though the Leafs coughed up the lead before losing 4-3 in a shootout.
Reimer played the game's first 30 minutes 14 seconds and withstood a shot disadvantage of 18-9 before giving way to Christopher Gibson. When shown on video screens with his stats from the night, Reimer received some nice applause from the tepid exhibition crowd.
Nazem Kadri, Jake Gardiner (power play) and James van Riemsdyk scored for the Leafs, who iced one team in Toronto and another against the Senators at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa. The Senators won that game 3-2 as Bobby Ryan scored twice.
Shane Prince, Alex Chiasson (short-handed) and Ryan Dzingel had the Senators' goals in Toronto. Robin Lehner played the entire game for Ottawa and stopped 24 of the 27 shots he faced in regulation and overtime.
Milan Michalek had the shootout winner.
Lehner is expected to be Craig Anderson's backup with the Senators again this season, and a similar thing could be said of Reimer. Jonathan Bernier emerged as the No. 1 goaltender last year, and though coach Randy Carlyle continued to call them "1A and 1B" in training camp, few believe it's actually that close.
But Reimer is determined to compete with Bernier, who's coming off sports hernia surgery and a couple of injuries that ended his 2013-14 season. Reimer, 26, signed a two-year deal as a restricted free agent over the summer.
Notes ??? Injured Leafs forwards Tyler Bozak and David Clarkson practised Wednesday and could play Friday at the Buffalo Sabres. ... First-round pick William Nylander, who scored Tuesday night, was held off the score sheet in his second career pre-season game and hit the post in the shootout.
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