Wilson has goalie decision to make

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

There were no emergency public address alert for Dr. Francois Allaire to come to the goaltenders' corner of the Maple Leafs' dressing room Saturday night at the Verizon Centre in D.C.

But the Leafs' new goaltending guru could be a busy man in coming days, with Vesa Toskala off on the wrong skate and Jonas Gustavsson perhaps in line for more October games than expected.

In a perfect world, coach Ron Wilson wanted Toskala to ease his way back into the No. 1 role following off-season surgeries that damaged both his confidence and career save percentage. He could play the first three or four games, get his game in gear and the Air Canada Centre fans back on his side, while Gustavsson, the highly touted rookie from Sweden, would be brought along slowly and maybe debut in one of the back to back games next week.

Now, many people will clamour for The Monster to be in there tomorrow against the Ottawa Senators after he looked okay, at least compared to Toskala in mopping up a 6-4 loss to the Caps. After surrendering the first shot, Toskala gave up three in all on eight chances, to go with a 4-3 overtime loss against Montreal, leaving him with an .800 save percentage.

"I feel good overall," Toskala said on Saturday. "There were tough scoring chances overall and I wasn't able to make the saves."

After three second-period goals on Gustavsson, Wilson watched the 24-year-old get comfortable and his team score three.

So does the coach try to build on that or risk Toskala struggling in another home game with a hostile crowd? Or does he go by Toskala's 2-0-1 record against the Sens last year, a 1.30 goals-against average and .956 save percentage?

Wilson gave the Leafs the day off yesterday while he and general manager Brian Burke ponder the situation.

Wilson said he'll make the call today at practice.

Gustavsson has been respectful of his elders so far, stating he intends to be the No. 1 when he earns it. Toskala, meanwhile, said his work with Allaire thus far has been productive. He won three games in pre-season, two by the shootout format that has hurt him as a Leaf. But he gave up seven goals in his last pre-season start and another seven on 35 shots in regular play.

"THERE WERE TOUGH SCORING CHANCES OVERALL AND I WASN'T ABLE TO MAKE THE SAVES."

VESA TOSKALA


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