TORONTO — James Reimer just kept focusing on the next shot — even after he gave up the tying goal late in the third period.
“You can’t focus on the bad things or the negative things,” Reimer said. “All you can do is make that next save.”
Reimer did that again and again as the Maple Leafs (14-8-1) were outshot 50-28 while earning their third victory in four games. James van Riemsdyk also scored in the shootout for Toronto.
Being outshot and winning has become a familiar to the Leafs, but this one was about quality over quantity as far as what Reimer faced.
“Honestly it was more of them just throwing pucks at the net from everywhere,” said Reimer, who also stopped three of four in the shootout. “Our team did a great job of keeping the shots to the outside, and I just tried my best to control them. When I left some out there, obviously they were there to back me up.”
Leafs coach Randy Carlyle pointed to back-to-back Washington power plays in the second period as the time the shot differential became so lopsided, but even considering that his team was outshot 40-26 at even strength.
The 50 shots were a season high for the Capitals (12-10-2), as well as a season-high allowed by the Leafs.
“I think any time you get outshot, you look at it,” said winger David Clarkson, who scored Toronto’s only goal of the night on the power play in the second period. “But there was also a lot of good things we were doing. There’s always things you can improve on, there’s things you can get better at. But the big thing is finding a way to win, and right now we’re doing that.”
It doesn’t mean the Leafs were proud to be outshot, despite keeping so many of the Capitals‘ attempts to the outside.
“Regardless of the quality of the shots, we’re never going to tell you that we want to give up 50,” said defenseman Mark Fraser, who returned to the lineup after missing two games with a knee injury. “That’s probably a few too many for us to be happy with. But it was just nice that we could keep it off the scoreboard. Obviously Reims had a lot to do with that.”
Carlyle was glad his goaltender kept the Leafs in the game because Braden Holtby was brilliant at the other end in making 27 saves.
Even in the glow of an emotional shootout win that included stops on all-stars Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, Reimer wasn’t making too much of the save-percentage accomplishment.