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Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer gets the call to start against Pittsburgh. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Paul Chiasson

James Reimer is now the go-to goaltender for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The 22-year-old rookie was the starter when the puck dropped Saturday for the Leafs' game against the injury-depleted Penguins and he is expected to be in the net Sunday night in Atlanta when the Leafs finish off back-to-back, home and road games against the Thrashers.

Veteran goaltender J.S. Giguere is recovered from his latest woes from his troublesome groin muscles but head coach Ron Wilson said he could not say when Giguere will play again.

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Reimer backstopped most of the Leafs' 8-2-2 run heading into Saturday's game, which earned him the confidence of the coaching staff.

Thanks to injuries to superstars Sidney Crosby (concussion) and Evgeni Malkin (knee), the Penguins are headed in the opposite direction as the Leafs, although they are still solidly in playoff contention. But the Penguins were 2-6-2 in their previous 10 games, which helped spur general manager Ray Shero to acquire wingers James Neal and Alexei Kovalev in trades.

However, the Kovalev trade was not met with universal acclaim in Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that some of Kovalev's new teammates were skeptical of the trade. Kovalev, 38, who played for the Penguins from 1998 to 2003, was landed for a conditional seventh-round pick in this year's entry draft. If the Penguins get past the first round of the playoffs and Kovalev plays in at least half of the first-round games, the pick becomes a sixth-rounder.

Kovalev, who becomes a free agent at the end of the season, was a huge flop with the Ottawa Senators and had a mere 14 goals in 55 games this season before the trade.

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About the Author
Hockey columnist

A native of Wainfleet, Ont., David Shoalts joined The Globe in 1984 after working at the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun and Toronto Sun. He graduated in 1978 from Conestoga College and also attended the University of Waterloo. More

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