James Reimer ‘amazing’ hurricane in first playoff start in 7 years


TORONTO – James Reimer has only had to wait seven years between postseason starts.

Isn’t that about the time it takes for the bad luck to run out?

When the Carolina Hurricanes goaltender glanced at the third period scoreboard and saw 4-1 for the good guys, a stalled streak just passed, he kept going down. and to accomplish the mission.

” You are happy. You’re excited, ”Reimer said of those last moments before the punches. “But I don’t like to take things for granted, no matter how many minutes or seconds are left. I like to play until the last buzzer and then celebrate. ”

Of course, this is only a qualifying round and Carolina has 16 more wins to come. But Reimer scored an exclamation point on the Hurricanes’ 3-0 sweep against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night – and bought his smashed blue line an extra week of rest in the bubble because of it.

Let the 11-year-old veteran savor this, his first postseason series win between the pipes.

“His reputation as a solid character, a great human being is something we knew before we had him. It’s really important for the guys that we put into this organization. It’s almost a prerequisite now, ”said Hurricane coach Rod Brind’Amour, who encouraged the team to give Reimer a standing ovation in the locker room.

“I’m really happy for him because he works very hard. He studies the trade more than likely any goalie in the league. He really listens, and obviously it paid off.

Since the 2013 Game 7 disaster with the Toronto Maple Leafs and before he got the tap on Tuesday, 32-year-old Reimer’s only playoff action has been in the 2016 San Jose Sharks race to the Stanley Cup final.

Reimer contributed just 29 minutes of relief work in a 6-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues this spring, but said on Tuesday he built on the lessons he learned in the behind the scenes of practice with a competitor that lasted four rounds.

Although Brind’Amour informed Reimer well in advance that he would get Game 3, the second half of a game in a row, the No.2 needed confirmation after Petr Mrazek put in a strong performance and beat the Rangers twice.

As has been the case all season, however, Carolina trusted both halves of their tandem and were rewarded.

“It’s great to be back,” said Reimer, smiling all over the place after being named the game’s first star.

“Playoff hockey is the best. This is the most fun. Nothing can touch it. Obviously I had fun and some disappointment here in the playoffs.

“It’s good to be back and to win games.”

With their backs to the wall and reinforced by the return of a healthy Igor Shesterkin in their own net, the Rangers came out pressing. Chris Kreider scored 12 seconds on the face-off, making Reimer pay off on the first real shot he had faced in more than five months.

All Reimer did was stop the next 37, denying a desperate team another gasp.

“Reims was on its head today,” Warren Foegele marveled.

“Without Reims, the match would be over,” said Brind’Amour. “It was an incredible performance.”

His signature stop came during a flurry around his crease at the end of the second, when Reimer stole Filip Chytil at close range with a thrown stick.

“Guys are diving everywhere,” Reimer said. “There is no technique there. Just throw your paddle and hope it hits it.

It made. Then all of the Hurricanes stood up and smacked their sticks on the boards, eliciting a standing ovation absent fans couldn’t.

While Reimer’s previous postseason debut was a nightmare of the highest level, this victory was the stuff dreams are made of – kinda.

“It’s not what you dreamed of. The fans are what brings the real excitement to the game, ”said Reimer. “It sucks not to have fans. Let’s be honest. “


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