Posted October 28, 2013 on
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Toronto Maple Leafs
James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier have provided the Toronto Maple Leafs with a trustworthy goaltending tandem, which is something the Edmonton Oilers only wish they could boast.
Both teams are dealing with their share of injuries, though.
Toronto looks to a win a fifth straight meeting with the Oilers as the teams face off Tuesday night in Edmonton.
The Maple Leafs (8-4-0) are tied atop the Eastern Conference, and their play in net deserves plenty of credit. Reimer and Bernier have combined for a .928 save percentage that ranks near the top of the league despite facing 34.9 shots per game, which is among the highest in the NHL.
"I think that's been the story of our season, for the most part," forward James van Riemsdyk said. "There's been stretches where we get outshot, but our goaltending is making big saves for us. They've gave us a chance almost every night."
Reimer made 37 saves in Saturday's 4-1 win over Pittsburgh in his first start since Oct. 17, when he suffered an injury after a collision in the opening seconds of a 3-2 loss to Carolina.
"I felt normal right from the get-go," Reimer said. "I didn't feel any uneasiness or uncertainty, really. The puck dropped, and I was ready to stop it."
Stopping pucks hasn't been as easy for Edmonton's goalies. The team is allowing an NHL-worst 3.77 goals per game and ranks last in the league with an .880 save percentage.
With Devan Dubnyk bothered by a minor ankle injury and backup Jason LaBarbera unimpressive in five appearances, Edmonton recalled Richard Bachman from the AHL to start Sunday against Los Angeles. Bachman made a career-high 47 saves, but the Oilers (3-8-2) fell 2-1 in a shootout for their third straight defeat.
Edmonton, which has the fewest points in the West, was outshot 48-18.
"I liked the way we stayed in the fight," coach Dallas Eakins said. "We were under siege, especially in the third. I don't think the guys had a lot left in the tank, but Bachman was excellent."
The Oilers tied their season high for goals allowed in a 6-5 overtime loss to the Maple Leafs on Oct. 12 with Dubnyk in net, and it's unclear who will start this game.
Ryan Smyth scored twice in the first meeting with Toronto, but he has sat out the last four with a groin injury while Taylor Hall continues to recover from a left knee injury.
The Maple Leafs have some injury concerns of their own. Joffrey Lupul has missed the last two games with a right foot injury but could return Tuesday, while Tyler Bozak will be out at least one week with a lower-body injury suffered in Friday's 5-2 loss to Columbus.
Bozak's absence allowed for Nazem Kadri to move up to the first line with van Riemsdyk and Kessel on Saturday. Kadri scored, van Riemsdyk had two assists and Kessel - who has five goals in the last three - added a goal and an assist.
"We're all on the same page offensively. It was great," Kadri said. "It's not just the offensive side of things, we took care of the D-zone."
Dave Bolland, who scored in OT to beat the Oilers earlier this month, had two goals against Pittsburgh. He has six goals in 12 games after scoring seven in 35 contests with Chicago last season.
Kessel has six goals and five assists in his last seven against Edmonton.
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