Toskala bounces back for star nod

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:03 AM ET

Just six days after allowing one of the longest goals in NHL history, Vesa Toskala was rewarded for his recent play.

The Maple Leafs goalie yesterday was named the NHL's second star of the week after going 3-0 with a 2.00 goals-against average and .940 save percentage. All three victories came on the road, a vital reason why his team remains in the playoff hunt.

The honour remarkably comes during a span in which he was beaten by a 178-foot seven-hopper by the New York Islanders' Rob Davison, his former San Jose Sharks teammate, exactly one week ago tonight.

The unflappable Toskala responded by slamming the door the rest of the way in a 3-1 Toronto win, the first of three consecutive triumphs over Eastern Conference foes.

With Toskala, sporting a 32-22-6 record, it is difficult to understand why the coaching staff did not entrench him as the No. 1 goaltender in the first month of the season, opting instead to give fan whipping boy Andrew Raycroft a shot.

"His camp was okay, but Andrew's numbers out of camp were better," coach Paul Maurice said. "Sometimes the process is critical. (Vesa) fought through some average hockey early on and some other games just didn't go his way."

Never to be mistaken for a fitness freak, Toskala added to his modest workout regimen after being sidelined for a handful of games from late December to early January.

Despite starting a team-record 27 consecutive games, the veteran Finn remains one of the most laid-back characters in the league. He exemplified that yesterday when informed that Marc Savard, the leading scorer of the Boston Bruins, would not play tonight.

"If you hadn't said anything, I probably wouldn't have realized it," Toskala replied.


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