James Reimer sighed — after 73 saves on 77 shots in back-to-back starts — when he sat down for his post-game media availability
“Tired?” I asked.
Reimer, after his 12th consecutive start, just the third time in his 12-year NHL career that he’s started 10 or more straight games, beamed, “No, no. I’m good to go. Let’s [play] another one.”
It’s hard not to like the perpetually sunny Reimer. It’s also pretty easy, I imagine, to play for him.
That’s what the San Jose Sharks did last night, albeit not quite on time. In the first period, Reimer was forced to make 18 saves — the Seattle Kraken’s Philipp Grubauer countered with just three — and the Sharks No. 1 managed to keep the score 1-1.
This was, frankly, an embarassing effort for a Sharks squad purportedly desperate to keep themselves in the playoff hunt.
Head coach Bob Boughner admitted to shaming the Sharks during the intermission, sharing what he said about Reimer: “This guy here has played [19 of 22, probably 20 of 23] is going to be in Vegas. He’s played the majority of January and all of February for you guys. He’s played hard. He has never complained. He’s rose to the challenge every time. It’s time to play for him.”
That, the San Jose Sharks did: Per SPORTLOGiQ, the Sharks were outchanced 6-1 Slot Shots in the opening frame. In the last two periods, they outchanced the Kraken 7-5 Slot Shots.
“He’s been standing on his head for us,” Ryan Dzingel, who scored his first goal as a Shark last night, said of Reimer. “We had to go out to play for him, and we did that in the second.”
Scott Reedy and Jonah Gadjovich would each net their first career NHL goals to help San Jose gut out a 3-1 win over Seattle.
Post-game, Reimer was still making stops — here, he excused his teammates’ first period foibles.
“Every goalie coach will tell you too, for the most part, on the back end of a back-to-back, your team’s gonna have a hard period, that’s just the way it is. It’s either the first or the third. Usually come out strong and you’re running out of gas as the game goes on or your legs are all jammed up in the first and it takes a while to get going,” he offered. “You just try to hang in there and give them a chance and they came alive in the last 40 and played great hockey.”
Now that’s a save.
The Sharks’ season may not go where they want — San Jose is seven points out of the last wild card berth with five teams to pass — but it’s nice to see Reimer keep playing for his teammates and his teammates keep playing for him.
Sharks Don’t Need Timo or Tommy
It took 53 games, but the San Jose Sharks finally won a game when Timo Meier or Tomas Hertl did not score a point.
Dzingel, Reedy, and Gadjovich were the goalscorers last night, while Logan Couture, Noah Gregor, Jasper Weatherby, and Brent Burns got the assists.
It’s also just the 24-23-6 Sharks’ sixth win without a goal from Meier or Hertl: That’s Oct. 21 in Ottawa, Nov. 22 vs. Carolina, Dec. 2 at the Islanders, Jan. 26 at Washington, Feb. 24 vs. the Islanders, and last night.
On one hand, it’s a testament to Meier and Hertl’s remarkable campaigns: They’re one-two on the Sharks in goals and points.
On the other hand, it shows how shallow the San Jose’s scoring depth is. They have only four double-digit goalscorers (Meier, 24; Hertl, 22; Couture, 18; Dahlen, 11) — tied with Arizona, Buffalo, Chicago, and the Islanders. Only Montreal with three has less.
Predictably, all of the aforementioned teams are out of the playoffs right now.
In contrast, Colorado and Florida are tied for the NHL lead with nine double-digit goalscorers.
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