James Reimer was someone lots of Hurricanes fans wanted to see gone, ever since he first got traded to the Carolina Hurricanes. In his last six starts, he has changed everyone’s minds.
In his last six starts, James Reimer has earned five wins and only one loss. Out of the five wins, two of those were shutouts for Reimer. The first shutout comes out of a game in Detroit against the Red Wings, where Reimer only needed to make 19 saves, the defensive play of the Hurricanes made the game easy for him, but lots of shots or little shots, he has been sharp.
His second shutout was a hard-earned 32-save shutout in Calgary against the red-hot Calgary Flames, who had won seven games in a row with their new coach Geoff Ward. The team can be good or bad, Reimer’s focus doesn’t change, he plays his game and his game has been good.
In those last six starts, five of those teams made the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season or are in good position this season to make it this season. Reimer has only given up 1.70 goals-against average in this six-game stretch, with a superb .949% save percentage.
Earlier in the season, neither James Reimer or Petr Mrazek looked like a legitimate successful goalie duo, it seemed like the Hurricanes needed to look in the Charlotte Checkers for a different goaltender or look for one in a trade. Mrazek seems to be finding his game as well, with highlight wins over the San José Sharks and a perfect game until overtime against the Vancouver Canucks.
Right out of the gate in the season, Reimer looked decent with a 32/34 save win over the Washington Capitals, hoisting a .941% save percentage and another win against the Florida Panthers, making 47/50 saves, and still a .940% save percentage.
Then the drop came, James Reimer’s save percentage would plummet and his goals-against-average would soar. With a loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets, it started a five-game losing streak on Reimer’s record. His save percentage would start falling to the upper 800s in save percentage. A loss to Columbus was gross, but losses to the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators were in this losing stretch.
Something sparked Reimer in the game against the Minnesota Wild, that started his six-game high performance run. Ever since, he has been confident in net against the best of the best forwards in the league. He’s faced Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Leon Draisaitl, and even Connor McDavid who Reimer stoned on a penalty shot with pure intimidation.
An important lesson to remember from this is to not rush the Carolina Hurricanes management, nor their goalies. They know what they’re doing, they likely knew Reimer just needed more time to get his groove, and that goes the same way for Mrazek.
They also know when enough is enough, that can be taken from last season with Scott Darling, who they moved to Charlotte and eventually Reimer’s former home, the Florida Panthers.
Reimer is not only out of the common talk of being traded or being a mediocre goalie, but now he’s in the talk of being the starter goalie for the Hurricanes here on out. He is undisputingly the hot hand now for the Hurricanes, it will say a lot on what the Hurricanes want to do with his momentum as they will announce who will start in net tonight against the Winnipeg Jets.
Question for Cardiac Cane Readers: Will James Reimer stay sharp, sharp enough to be the starter goalie and get the majority of the starts in net?