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The Morning After: James Reimer elevates Sharks goaltending

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Reimer has brought San Jose goaltending to another level.

CSNBayArea.com

We knew James Reimer would be a sure improvement over Alex Stalock in net, but few predicted just how hot a start he'd have with the Sharks. Through his first four games, Reimer has allowed a grand total of 1 (1) even strength goal while facing 83 shots. That's a .988 at even strength, in case you were wondering.

What's more is how seamlessly he has transitioned to playing net for San Jose. Like any goalie stopping as many shots as he has, there's a fair amount of luck involved — still, it's been great to see Reimer already comfortable getting into position and easily reacting to the Sharks' defensive play. While he's no Mike Smith handling the puck, Reimer seems comfortable coming out of his net to help maintain possession which is just a bonus.

The eye test can be deceiving, of course, but the numbers speak for themselves. Reimer's strong play joins Martin Jones finding his groove and the result for San Jose's overall save percentage...well, see for yourself.

At one point this season the Sharks held the second-worst even-strength save percentage mark in the NHL. Now? San Jose sits 21st in the league, a massive improvement this late in the season. Since January first? The Sharks have the second-best mark in the NHL, behind only the New York Rangers. I don't think San Jose possesses top-five goaltending, personally, but the Sharks certainly hold one of the best goalie tandems in the NHL since acquiring Reimer.

Among goalies with at least 1,000 minutes played this season Reimer holds the second-best even-strength save percentage (.942) and fifth-best among netminder with at least 500 minutes. Since Reimer's first game on March 5, he has the best even-strength mark in the league (including goalies who have played more than once), which is a pretty good way to introduce yourself to a new fanbase.

Reimer got a chance to introduce himself to San Jose fans last night in an interview with Jamie Baker after he was named first star of the game (linked so you don't have to deal with endless CSNBayArea.com autoplay nonsense). It's easy to see why so many Leafs fans loved him. Beyond his strong play in net, he's an extremely likable guy. It's going to be tough to see him go during the summer (yes, that's what's happening, emotionally prepare for it now).

For now, it's enough to appreciate just how good Reimer has been for the Sharks while daydreaming about what he can bring to San Jose during the playoffs. The Sharks have long suffered from poor playoff goaltending — maybe now, with as solid a goaltending tandem as the team has ever had, that curse can be put to bed. Welcome to San Jose, Optimus Reim. Let's get a cup together.