By: David Alter
With the team keeping it a secret, Ben Scrivens looked like a goalie who didn’t need any protection or additional support as he made 38 saves, allowing just one goal in a Leafs 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Making his NHL debut, Scrivens never looked out of place weathering a storm early where he faced 11 shots in the opening period. That in comparison to just four by the Maple Leafs on the other end.
“We got outshot a little bit but I thought the guys blocked a lot of shots. I probably gave up more rebounds than I would have wanted to but I’m excited” said Scrivens aftter game.
Given this was his debut, the rebounds Scrivens gave up were more than forgivable.
“He’s played well in the American League and maybe somewhere along the line I should have given him a start because we do believe he’s going to be a big-time goalie and he showed that tonight” said Leafs Head Coach Ron Wilson.
Scrivens was impressive in 63 minutes of pre-season action with the Maple Leafs in September. He was rewarded for it by sticking around a week before the last round of cuts. Scrivens wouldn’t play another pre-season game, sitting as backup to both Reimer and Gustavssson before ultimately being sent down.
“I came down here this morning, I told him (Ben Scrivens) and I told the Monster that Ben was going to play. I said don’t say anything because we don’t need this circus to bother a young kid who’s gotta focus on his first game and he played a great game.” Wilson said of his keeping it a secret.
You will recall, Wilson has done this before – keeping James Reimer’s first NHL start a mystery.
“I certainly wasn’t going to share that with the piranhas in our media that would maybe upset him a little bit, and he was able to calmly go about his business and be ready for the game.” said Wilson back on January 1st, when Reimer made 32 saves in a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.
Of course the tone of the comments this time around was lighter from Wilson as you would expect with a 9-3-1 record. That puts the Leafs at the writing of this blog on top of the NHL standings with 19 points.
Don’t be surprised if Scrivens gets the nod again Saturday if James Reimer is not taken off the IR. While Gustavsson did an ok job in releif during Reimer’s absence, with just one year left to go on his one-way contract it’s hard to envision any scenario where Gustavssson remains in T.O. beyond this season.
Notes: Joey Crabb has made the most of his recent callup scoring two goals in his first two games this season. Clarke MacArthur was the benefactor of spotty goaltending from Steve Mason who allowed four goals off 11 shots before being pulled. MacArthur’s goals were gimmes but he now has six goals in his last five games.. John-Michael Liles scored the other goal for his first as a Maple Leaf. Luke Schenn registered just 9:13 minutes of ice-time a new low for this season, Well below the next lowest logged ice-time of a Leafs defenseman by a whole 9:05 (Jake Gardiner played 18:18).