The Leafs found out this past weekend that rookie goalie James Reimer is not necessarily all smiles and bashful — and that is arguably good news with the club heading out on a three-game road trip.

Reimer showed a slight edge to his usually welcoming demeanour following Saturday’s 5-2 win over Boston. The rookie is no Darcy Tucker when it comes to edge, but he is motivated by his detractors.

“A little motivation, yeah … some people say I have a bad glove hand, but I don’t think so. I think my glove hand is pretty good. I mean I’d like to have guys shoot there because I think I have a pretty good glove hand,” Reimer said, still smiling, but definitely intent on getting a point across.

Ever since a loss to Tampa a week ago, one in which Reimer was pulled after two periods and five goals on 18 shots, he has heard opinions about some flaws in his game.

The particularly pointed ones came from the Lightning themselves. According to coach Guy Boucher, his team’s scouting staff pored over Reimer in the games leading up to the Leafs contest and found “things” they weren’t willing to divulge.

Reimer was beaten to the glove hand side. The general consensus afterwards was that the Lightning were onto something by shooting high to the glove. Also making the rounds was Reimer’s butterfly style — shaped by Leafs goalie coach Francois Allaire — and how that was exploitable as well.

Reimer quickly came to his goalie coach’s defence — showing the same edge he did in talking about his glove hand. It was like a “welcome to the big leagues” moment, a situation where the heat was turned up on the very successful rookie after a mediocre performance in a playoff race.

Now, Reimer and the Leafs will need that edge. The talk of the glove hand has cooled for now. But the Leafs face Minnesota, Colorado and Detroit this week. They will need to win at least two of those games, if not all three, to remain in the playoff race.