The Toronto Maple Leafs edged the New York Islanders 4-3, to sweep the home-and-home series between the two clubs. The Leafs managed to only muster 21 shots on Al Montoya tonight but Clark MacArther scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime to defeat the Islanders. MacArther had an assist, while Mikhail Grabovski netted a goal and had three assists in the game. Jake Gardiner got his first NHL goal and assisted on another.
At the other end of the ice Jonas Gustavsson made 29 saves to get the win.
The desperation hockey that is needed for this team to stay in the playoff race takes a ton of energy, clean finished checks and the ability to forecheck with results. Mike Brown had one of those high energy games tonight and managed to create some chances with his great forechecking in the second period. It was an exciting second period of hockey that should have been the template to their start; almost habitually the Leafs seemed to come out of the gate without much in the way of energy. At the end of the game the tally for hits totalled nine for Brown as he logged ten minutes of ice time. A hit a shift is the kind of hockey he should continue to play in order to spark energy for the Leafs bench. Mike Brown is a role player that continues to improve this season while coming off an injury.
Mike Komisarek saw his minutes decline tonight as the workhorse Jake Gardiner continued to log over 25 minutes of ice time. Gardiner played a phenomenal game tonight with his two point effort. Jake Gardiner has done nothing but impress so far this season.
Jonas Gustavsson gives me fits every time he wanders from the crease and plays the puck. I hope that Leafs goaltending coach Francois Allaire is giving Gustavsson extra practice playing the puck behind the net. I think if the Leafs get the video team to splice together some highlights of Martin Brodeur or Marty Turco handling the puck it might be of some help. Those two goalies are by far the best of the modern goalies at carrying and passing the puck. Gustavsson can watch the video highlights; learn some of the angles these goalies use to get the puck and what they do with it once it is on their stick.
Gustavsson managed not to fumble around with the puck tonight on the few opportunities he had to play it. Watching Al Montoya play the puck without effort tonight reminded me how amateur Gustavsson looks with the puck on his stick.