Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 0
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Centre Bell, Montréal, QC
One night after Florida Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun was hit in the head by a teammate’s stick, Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson also found himself in the hospital.
Gustavsson made eight saves at the Bell Centre before being forced to leave after the first period due to an elevated heartbeat, just two months after undergoing minor heart surgery for that very condition.
Despite the scary situation, the Leafs remained focused and received 18 saves in relief by Joey MacDonald over the final two periods en route to a 3-0 victory against the Montréal Canadiens on Tuesday. It was the Leafs’ first shutout of the season.
“He will spend the night in hospital and then go back to Toronto tomorrow,” Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. “His heart rate came down in the room, but we wanted to be cautious. He had that same sensation at training camp where his heart started to race, but it came down on its own. Obviously, any situation with your heart can turn out to be serious, but we don’t expect anything to be serious or long-term.”
Two unlikely sources, Colton Orr and Jeff Finger, scored just 3:27 in the opening period as the Leafs built a 2-0 lead. Matt Stajan added a goal in the third against Carey Price as Toronto avenged Monday’s 3-0 loss against Buffalo.
Orr gave the Leafs a 1-0 lead when he took a pass from Tomas Kaberle and beat fired a wrist shot past Price at 9:24 of the first. It was Orr’s first goal as a Maple Leaf after the enforcer signed a four-year contract with the club in July.
Phil Kessel, who missed the first two meetings between the “Original Six” rivals in October, picked up an assist at 12:51 when Finger ripped a slap shot past Price to increase the lead to 2-0.
“We were up 2-0 and you knew they were going to come out and throw everything at the net, especially when they saw me in there,” MacDonald said.
But Stajan gave the Leafs a three-goal lead on a breakaway 6:53 into the second. Kessel made a long pass up the middle to Stajan, who made his way around Montréal defencemen Roman Hamrlik and Jaroslav Spacek. Stajan then beat Price for his eighth goal of the season.
“It was a difficult night,” Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said. “Sometimes you have a few guys who aren’t playing to their potential, but tonight we had trouble finding one who was.”
MacDonald stood tall between Toronto’s pipes, stopping all nine shots he faced in both the second and third periods.
“He did a good job, but I thought we limited the chances that he faced,” Wilson said. “That’s as good a game defensively as we’ve played all year. He had to make a couple of saves, and he did.”
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TOR PEN – 04:55 – Primeau, boarding
TOR GOAL – 09:24 – Orr (Kaberle)
TOR GOAL – 12:51 – Finger (Kessel, Beauchemin)
TOR GOAL – 06:53 – Stajan (Kessel)
MTL PEN – 15:31 – Pacioretty, holding
MTL PEN – 0:29 – Pacioretty, charging
TOR PEN – 08:48 – Schenn, tripping
TOR – Gustavsson (W + SO, 8-8), MacDonald (SO, 18-18)
MTL – Price (L, 28-31)
SHOTS ON GOAL
TOR – 9+15+7 = 31
MTL – 8+9+9 = 26
TOR – Goaltenders: Jonas Gustavsson, Joey MacDonald. Defence: François Beauchemin (A), Jeff Finger, Tomas Kaberle (A), Mike Komisarek (A), Luke Schenn, Ian White. Forwards: Jason Blake, Mikhail Grabovski, Niklas Hagman, Christian Hanson, Phil Kessel, Nikolai Kulemin, Jamal Mayers, Colton Orr, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Wayne Primeau, Matt Stajan, Lee Stempniak.
MTL – Goaltenders: Jaroslav Halak, Carey Price. Defence: Marc-André Bergeron, Josh Gorges, Roman Hamrlik (A), Paul Mara, Ryan O’Byrne, Jaroslav Spacek. Forwards: Michael Cammalleri (A), Kyle Chipchura, Matt D’Agostini, Scott Gomez (A), Sergei Kostitsyn, Maxim Lapierre, Glen Metropolit, Travis Moen, Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec, Tom Pyatt, Ryan White.
⭐ Phil Kessel (TOR)
⭐⭐ Tomas Kaberle (TOR)
⭐⭐⭐ Matt Stajan (TOR)