Gustavsson to face Wings

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 4:01 PM ET

The Monster is coming to Motown.

According to Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson, rookie goaltender Jonas (The Monster) Gustavsson is expected to make his NHL debut Friday night at the Joe Louis Arena when Toronto faces off against the Detroit Red Wings in pre-season action.

With the Monster slated to probably see “one period of work” in Detroit, Wilson added that Gustavsson likely will get another two periods against the Wings when the two teams face off in the back end of this home-and-home series at the Air Canada Centre Saturday night.

Talk about getting thrown into the fire. By facing the Red Wings, the young Swede probably will be going up against two of the best players his country has ever produced - forward Henrik Zetterberg and defenceman Nick Lidstrom.

“I don’t care who I face,” Gustavsson said. “I’m just eager to play.”

Gustavsson’s training camp was derailed from the get-go when he was rushed to hospital Sept. 12 after his heart rate spiked during team physicals. Three days later he underwent a catheter ablation to correct his abnormally high heart rate, which occurred after intense exercise.

After being cleared to return to the ice earlier this week, Gustavsson — signed as a free agent from the Swedish elite league during the off-season — has been champing at the bit to see action. In his absence, former New York Islander Joey MacDonald has stepped up in the battle to land the No. 2 job behind Vesa Toskala.

For his part, Gustavsson does not seemed concerned.

“I’m not worried about anyone else,” he said. “I’m just concentrating on my own game.”

mike.zeisberger@sunmedia.ca


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