Great Scott to start?

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

John Ferguson began the season trying to establish one goaltender for his Maple Leafs, now he's trying to find good homes for three.

A lanky Midwesterner named Scott Clemmensen complicated things in a good way on Tuesday night when he preserved a 4-3 shootout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. With the welcome sound of cheers for a back-up goalie still being heard around the Air Canada Centre, the general manager was asked how long Clemmensen has extended his stay, at the expense of Andrew Raycroft and the injured Vesa Toskala.

"Let's get to our next game (tonight in Pittsburgh)," Ferguson said. "I've found in my time in this business that there is not much sense in speculating. Something else always comes up."

When Ferguson traded for Toskala to shore up Andrew Raycroft's inconsistencies, he hoped it would inspire Raycroft to either challenge for No. 1 or catch the fancy of a trade partner. But Raycroft's record of 2-5-4 and an .876 save percentage aren't big selling points so far. Thus, there's the possibility of Clemmensen staying and Raycroft going on waivers and down to the Marlies, with his $2-million US salary next year scaring off bargain hunters.

Well-known goalies such as Marc Denis already have been through that process.

Clemmensen and Raycroft were on the team flight yesterday, but the former likely starts against Sidney Crosby and company, reward for the jolt he gave the Leafs against the Lightning. His 30 saves and three shootout stops in his first NHL game of the season bought more time for Toskala to recover from a sore groin.

Toskala was to have spent a second day on the ice yesterday. He last played 10 days ago in a 2-1 overtime win in Florida, after which his lower extremeties began aching. But coach Paul Maurice ruled his rusty No. 1 out of the Pittsburgh game, with Saturday's home start against the Philadelphia Flyers the next tentative target.

Sitting that game as well would get Toskala three more days rest and avoid any stiffness from a four-hour flight to California the next day. Maurice admitted Raycroft's bad start in a 6-1 loss to the Rangers on Saturday and its trickle down effect on the bench had factored in the Clemmensen move and though he thinks Raycroft could easily rebound on the road tonight if called upon, the new guy now has the momentum.

"He saw (Tampa's last-minute tying goal) go off a couple of things and Matt Stajan's leg, but it didn't seem to bother him a whole lot," an impressed Maurice said. "He's got a certain veteran presence and it looks like he's been in on a lot of big games."

Clemmensen backed up Martin Brodeur for parts of the past three NHL seasons and Maurice, who has a keen eye for a goalie's record against certain teams, will note he debuted in 2004 with a shutout in Pittsburgh.


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