Monster moments

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

With Monster saves apparently come Monster moments.

More and more, Jonas Gustavsson looks like he is the future in the Maple Leafs net. But a handful of outstanding first-period saves last night were negated by one notable blunder in the second period leading to Tampa's first goal in a 2-1 overtime win.

After taking the puck behind his own net, the rookie Swede tried to fire a long lead pass but didn't get good wood on it. The result saw it land on Mattias Ohland's stick and a shot by the Lightning defenceman converted quickly into an easy rebound goal by Vinny Lecavalier.

"Of course (it was frustrating), they scored a goal," said Gustavsson, who was making his fifth start of the season. "But the puck knuckled a little bit. Sometimes it doesn't work."

Leafs coach Ron Wilson chalked the error to a rookie lesson for Gustavsson, who faced 32 shots to the 41 the Leafs fired at Antero Niittymaki.

"I don't know why he played the puck, he got excited and the turnover turned into a goal," Wilson said. "I don't think he'll do that again. He learned some lessons.

"He made three or four great saves. He has great side-to-side movement."

For his efforts, Gustavsson saw his goals against average dip below 3.00 (to 2.98) and his save percentage rise to .901. He has been in net for the lone two games the Leafs have surrendered less than three goals this season.

The Leafs were unlucky on Ryan Malone's game winner with 2:21 remaining in overtime. The Lightning forward somehow bounced a puck past Gustavsson, who was bumped and ended up knocking his own net loose. After a video review, the goal stood.

Wilson must be getting tired of making excuses as the Leafs started November the way October ended, with another loss in extra time. As a result, their record fell to 1-7-5 and a winless 0-4-2 at home.

But with the effort of Phil Kessel, in his first game as a Leaf and some steadiness in net from Gustavsson, Wilson sees some light.

"We'll get out of this," Wilson said. "You've just got to persevere. We can't change what we are doing. We are right there knocking on the door. We've just got to find a way to knock the door completely down."

ROB.LONGLEY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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