Leafs aiming to start Gerber for rest of way

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 3:05 AM ET

Just five games in nine days stand between the Maple Leafs and the end of the regular season, and the carousel that has been the team's goaltending picture finally has screeched to a stop.

And with that, it's not a stretch to suggest that Curtis Joseph might have played his last game in the NHL.

Martin Gerber, fresh off a rest of more than week thanks to a three-game suspension for his abuse of referee Mike Leggo in a game on March 24, will man the nets for the Leafs tonight in Philadelphia and has been tabbed to start tomorrow night at home against the Montreal Canadiens.

Of course, if Gerber smells to high heaven or gets hurt, Joseph will play again.

"With the teams we are playing, we are going to need great goaltending," coach Ron Wilson said. "That's primary for us. Cujo gave us that in a couple of spots went Gerbs (was suspended), now it will be basically Gerbs' ball the rest of the way.

"He has been out only three games, so I don't suspect there will be any drop off in his play."

Gerber has four wins in eight games with the Leafs since he was claimed on waivers from the Ottawa Senators a month ago and sports a solid .910 save percentage and a 2.89 goals-against average. But no matter what he does in the next week or so, he knows it might not matter much.

"I think we're all in the same boat here," Gerber said. "You miss the playoffs, you have a contract or not, you don't know what is going to happen in the summer. You do everything possible to give yourself a chance."

Gerber had little interest in discussing his suspension.

"I did my part to be in that position, but I do not want to complain about it," Gerber said. "It's something I want to put behind and look forward."

Joseph recently made noise that he might not want to retire following this season after all, but it could be difficult to sell himself in free agency this summer. Not many teams will be looking for a backup netminder who will be 42 when training camps open in September.

There might be one bonus for Joseph if he does not suit up again. With 351 career losses, he would not have to worry about tying Lorne (Gump) Worsley for the NHL record of 352 losses.

TERRY.KOSHAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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