By Rick Couchman
Jonas ‘The Monster’ Gustavsson showed up with his best performance in net so far this season as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday evening at the Air Canada Centre by a score of 4-3.
Gustavsson made numerous highlight reel saves to secure the victory, robbing both James Neal and Steve Sullivan point blank. He’s been playing as the mainstay for the past week since James Reimer went down to injury against Boston. Reimer has been cleared to resume playing, but will miss at least one more game until he gets more practice time in.
The Leafs top two lines both produced a pair of goals. Phil Kessel continued his NHL lead in goals by scoring one, as did Tim Connolly. On the second unit, Mikahil Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur both added singles.
Not only the forwards were shining in the victory, but Dion Phaneuf logged over 27 minutes of icetime on defence. Phaneuf dominating with solid backend work, hard hits, and he added a pair of assists. Coach Ron Wilson heaped praise on his captain in the post-game press conference suggesting Phaneuf is “the best defenceman in the game right now, by a country mile.”
Notes: The Leafs head to Ottawa Sunday to take on the Senators in a 7:30pm match. The Sens are expected to be without Captain Daniel Alfredsson, who was injured Saturday after taking a hit to the head by the New York Rangers Wojtek Wolski.
Former Leafs captain Mats Sundin was in the crowd Saturday night, sitting with old pal Tie Domi. Sundin will be recognized by the Leafs on February 11th. His banner will be raised at the ACC.