#1 tage as a first-year Leaf, which included a .933 von lebaobei123 23.05.2019 04:38

TORONTO - It was the easiest shutout in Jonathan Berniers career and unlike anything he came close to seeing in his first season with the Maple Leafs. Bernier, rather alarmingly, was peppered with at least 40 shots on 12 different occasions last year or almost a quarter of his 49 starts. He faced at least 30 shots nearly half the time. Very few nights, if any at all, were like Tuesday at the ACC when the 26-year-old saw just 10 shots come his way in an easy shutout over the lowly Buffalo Sabres. Probably the best game since Ive been here, he said of the teams performance afterward. Bernier and returning tandem partner, James Reimer, are unlikely to shine again this season though (so far its been a mixed bag) without a few more efforts like that. More precisely, they cant be expected to deliver heroic performances if the Leafs continue to yield upwards of 30 shots each and every night. Its all about the team, right, Bernier said of maintaining consistency in goal from year to year. Personally, the way I look at the game [is] youre as good as your team that plays in front of you. Prior to Tuesdays thorough rout of the Sabres, the Leafs hadnt really fared much better in terms of shot suppression from a year earlier. They were still giving up nearly 34 shots per game, down only slightly from their league-worst position last season. There were countless nights in the 2013-14 campaign in which Torontos tandem stole wins and points despite sour team performances, but that hasnt been the case early on as clunkers against Pittsburgh, Detroit and Boston have demonstrated. Its not that the pair have been bad or anything close to it, they just havent risen to the superhero heights of last season. And it wasnt reasonable to expect that they would. If you look at all the goalies that have a consistent, good save percentage, you look at their squads and theyre consistent, good teams, Reimer observed. Bernier, who earned the bulk of starts after coming over from the Kings, delivered a .923 save percentage as a first-year Leaf, which included a .933 even-strength mark that was amongst the best in the league. Hes dipped to .910 overall this fall and .923 at even-strength – the latter mark jumping some after the light workout against Buffalo. Reimer held a sturdy .923 even-strength save percentage a year ago, that number dropping to .905 in minimal action this fall. I dont know about what the situation was last year overall, but any time youre giving up 30-plus shots, thats not good, said assistant coach, Peter Horachek, new to the Leafs this season. Youre not going to have a lot of success if you do that day in and day out. So youve got to limit the shots. The Leafs usually needed heroics to survive with poor play and so far, those heroics havent been there near as often. Consider that Bernier and Reimer combined to post a scintillating .939 save percentage in October 2013. The team won 10 games. With one game left to play in October a year later, the two have combined for a .911 mark and the team has lost five of nine overall. Eventually, the floodgates will open under heavy strain as Michal Neuvirth showed in defeat for Buffalo. The Sabres goaltender stopped everything in sight for half of Tuesdays game, but soon succumbed to the will of his opponent and inferior play of his own team. He still played a heck of a game, Reimer said a day later, but his stats wont end up that great. Like [Jonas] Hiller the other day in Chicago had a 49-save win. Sometimes you can stand on your head for 60, 65 [minutes] and sometimes the floodgates open. And thats precisely what the Leafs have to be weary of – that sooner or later, if they continue to allow their goalies to be peppered with a barrage of shots, theyll buckle. Toronto needs to alleviate some of the pressure and they know it. But can they change it? One key in doing so Tuesday was better puck management – and thus possession. Players and coaches alike spoke often about the improved team game in the aftermath of victory, fewer haphazard decisions with the rock leading to fewer opportunities for the opposition. Horacheks teams in Nashville – he served under long-time head coach Barry Trotz – were routinely pretty stingy in shot suppression. He observed that groups that turn pucks over with regularity and fail to exit the defensive zone cleanly often spend a lot of time defending. Youve got to play the game the right way and when were doing that, when anybodys doing that, thats when you have success, Horachek said. The best teams manage the puck well. Im not a stats guy, Bernier said. [But] if the team in front of you is playing well, usually everyones stats are going to be much better. Vincent Lecavalier Jersey . 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