Jonas Gustavsson looks weak as the New Jersey Devils sneak past the Toronto Maple Leafs in Overtime

Mike Smith February 21, 2012 1
(Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)


The Game

Jonas Gustavsson let in a soft goal in overtime as the New Jersey Devils stun the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 in overtime.  Phil Kessel hit the post at the other end of the ice behind future hall of fame goalie Martin Brodeur, the puck then turned back up ice and Devils Mark Fayne scored the winning goal in overtime.

Leafs fans can talk all we want about Brian Burke spending his General Manager duties looking for a scoring partner to play alongside Phil Kessel, when in reality this team has not had a true number one goalie in over a decade.  The evidence is clear this season, a number one goalie failed to emerge between two young netminders.  With a combined 3.1Million dollars in salary cap between them, it might be easy to move one of them at the trade deadline for a better goalie.  However my opinion at this point is to bring up Ben Scrivens and give him a chance.

A scoreless first period for the beginning nine minutes of the game and then the flood gates opened up with three goals in just five minutes of play.  If I tell you that the Leafs got scored on first and managed to finish the first period a goal down, it would sound like the typical start of any one of my blogs this year.

What is this coach doing wrong?  Are the players not prepared for a team or a style that they play?  I am baffled when it comes to determining the reason behind a consistent lack of energy the Leafs show out of the gate each game.  It is an epidemic that is detrimental to this team making the playoffs as was the horrendous penalty kill we had in the first half of the season.  Something has to give and at this point it is no longer a “piece of the puzzle” that GM Brian Burke needs to find; it has to be coaching.  Too late for a regime change behind the bench at this point, but I have to believe that coach Ron Wilson has spent his last year behind the Leafs bench.

The Bench

Carl Gunnarsson returned to the line-up tonight from his ankle sprain and got thrown into the fire early in the game; ten shifts with 8 minutes of ice time in the first period.  This is a Leafs defenseman that can block shots and put up great numbers being physical on both sides of the puck.

Gunnarsson plays on the edge of being a competitive physical player like Luke Schenn and he can also with his great stick awareness, push the puck away with that great reach of his without getting caught out of position.  I think Gunnarsson is an exciting player to have in the Leafs line-up and his presence was noticed in tonight’s game.  Carl Gunnarsson (22 Minutes of Ice Time, 1 Block Shot, 3 Hits)


3 Stars

Carl Gunnarsson

Phil Kessel

Clark MacArthur