James Reimer wasn’t rattled by the flub.
After the Leafs goalie appeared to whiff on a goal by Dallas’s Jamie Benn, the defending Art Ross Trophy winner, Reimer was impenetrable from that point forward. The end result was a 4-1 victory for Toronto, the team’s first win at Air Canada Centre this season, and only the club’s second win in eleven games.
Reimer turned away 43 Stars shots including 19 in the second period, the Leafs’ single-season high for shots allowed in a period in 2015-16. Among the victims foiled by Reimer were Patrik Nemeth, on a point-blank shot in the second period, and Cody Eakin, whose shorthanded chance in the third frame was stifled by the netminder’s right pad.
“It’s just a good feeling. I think it should be, I don’t know, maybe not eye-opening, but a real good shot of confidence,” Reimer said. “That’s a real good team and for us to hang with them and score four goals and play well defensively, I think it speaks volumes for the compete and the character that we showed tonight.”
Brad Boyes opened the scoring at 8:24 the first period on a rebound before Benn equalled the score less than a minute later. It was Boyes’s first goal in a Leafs uniform, scored 15 years after the team originally drafted him in 2000.
Joffrey Lupul found the back of the net twice in the middle frame to put the Leafs up by a pair. Dallas, frustrated by Reimer’s heroics, threatened in the third period after Valeri Nichuschkin was awarded on a penalty shot resulting on a Jake Gardiner breakaway hook.
But Reimer, holding the fort, played the shot perfectly, forcing the Stars forward to shoot wide.
Morgan Rielly scored a nifty power-play marker with less than 13 seconds remaining, his third goal of the year.
When asked whether Reimer’s play earned him a second consecutive start – against Winnipeg on Wednesday – coach Mike Babcock said “absolutely, for sure.”