Leafs' Gustavsson makes great 1st impression
Rookie Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonas Gustavsson gave the fans at Air Canada Centre a taste of what they hope are many more impressive performances in a 2-1 pre-season outing against the Detroit Red Wings.
Making his first appearance at ACC, Gustavsson stopped all 15 shots he faced Saturday night.
None were bigger than a two-man Detroit breakaway late in the third, where he stretched to make a right pad save on Johan Ryno's attempt, drawing an ovation from the crowd.
"That was unbelievable," Gustavsson told Hockey Night in Canada. "The fans really showed how good they are."
Gustavsson made his debut Friday in Detroit with seven saves in as many shots faced in Toronto's road victory at Joe Louis Arena. The big netminder's progress in camp was delayed by surgery earlier this month to repair a minor heart condition.
He wasn't the only Swede who continued to impress for Toronto.
Viktor Stalberg scored his third goal in two nights, and fifth in the pre-season, to put the Maple Leafs up to stay early in the third.
Power play clicks
The team's first goal, a power-play marker like Stalberg's, was credited to Carl Gunnarsson. The Swedish defenceman has drawn raves from coach Ron Wilson, although he may have to start the season in the American Hockey League.
Red Wings defenceman Brad Stuart scored on the lone Vesa Toskala mistake among seven Detroit shots in the first period.
Chris Osgood stopped 16 of 17 shots for the Red Wings, with Jimmy Howard replacing the veteran and allowing the Stalberg goal among his 10 shots faced.
Stuart's goal late in the first came iin the final minute of the period and not long after Toronto buzzed around Detroit's net, with Jason Blake and Niklas Hagman failing to get the puck past Osgood.
It was the kind of goal Leafs fans saw too much last season from Toskala, with the puck sneaking between the goalie's right arm and torso.
Gunnarsson tied it early in the second on the power play, set up for an opportune shot on Osgood by teammate Tomas Kaberle. Alexei Ponikarovsky screened the Detroit netminder.
Stalberg's goal in the third to put Toronto ahead came as the Maple Leafs worked the puck around the perimeter smoothly on the power play. Tyler Bozak set up Stalberg in the slot to beat Howard.
After making a strong save on Valtteri Filppula earlier in the period, Gustavsson found himself staring down at Ryno and Jan Mursak.
Mursak's cross-ice pass was matched by Gustavsson's lateral movement.
"I thought he was going to pass and he did, and I'm luck [Ryno] didn't shoot high," said Gustavsson.
The two-man breakaway came about after Toronto defender Garnet Exelby stumbled in Detroit's end.
The Red Wings iced a lineup on Friday likely closer to their opening game roster.
There were several journeyman veterans in the Detroit lineup on Saturday, including Andy Delmore, Brad May, Kris Newbury and Patrick Eaves.
Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom and Johan Franzen were among the Red Wings not in the lineup at ACC.
Toronto will host Buffalo on Sunday in its final pre-season game.