Gustavsson grounds Jets with shutout performance
Forward lines:Lupul-Connolly-Kessel, Kulemin-Grabovski-Crabb, MacArthur-Lombardi-Kadri, Boyce-Steckel-Frattin
Defence pairings: Phaneuf-Aulie, Gardiner-Franson, Gunnarsson-Schenn
Goaltenders: Gustavsson (Win 59:20 minutes played, 24 saves, 0 GA), Reimer (0:00)
Jonas Gustavsson wasn’t overly busy in his Thursday night appearance against the Winnipeg Jets. But the Leafs netminder delivered when needed, even when he didn’t have all of his equipment.
After “The Monster” posted his second career shutout in Toronto’s 4-0 win at Air Canada Centre, much of the buzz following the game was about a third period shift in which Gustavsson managed to make a hand save without his glove. “I didn’t really know the rules,” said Gustavsson. “I yelled at the referee, but (he said) you can only blow the whistle if it’s the mask (that is lost), so I just kept going.”
The glove was eventually returned to the goaltender by teammate Joey Crabb as play continued. “I raced down from the point and tried to hand him his glove,” said Crabb. “I just wanted to make sure he didn’t get hurt – first and foremost.”
Toronto would get the only goal that they would need just five minutes into the game when the familiar combination of Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel connected on a passing play, with Kessel firing home his 23rd goal of the year. Both players have points in 32 of 39 games played this season, which leads the NHL. “The thing about Phil is, he’ll be skating the puck up the ice and the other team really starts to key on him, ” said Lupul of the chemistry with his linemate. “If he makes a little play to me in the middle, it seems like either me or (Tim Connolly) have a lot of time. Teams are pretty much keying on (Kessel) first, so that definitely opens up some ice for Connolly, Tyler Bozak, or me.”
The home team was able to take advantage of a weary Jets squad that played in Montreal the previous night. Connolly, Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur had the other Leafs goals. For Kessel and MacArthur, their tallies extended their point streaks to seven games.
Captain Dion Phaneuf left the game late in the third period after taking a puck in the face from a shot by Winnipeg forward Andrew Ladd. Leafs coach Ron Wilson said that Phaneuf did not lose any teeth, and a further update on his condition would be provided after results of his x-rays are revealed.