Leafs shut out Canadiens

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Their starting goaltender wound up in an ambulance with an elevated heart rate last night, Tomas Kaberle went ahead of Tim Horton and the Maple Leafs ended the night in seventh heaven.

If they can keep their excitable young netminder Jonas Gustavsson healthy, the 3-0 win over the Canadiens, their seventh of the year, might yet salvage something of this season. As the Leafs celebrated a huge Bell Centre shutout before 21,273, who came to raise the Grey Cup with the Alouettes and bury the hated hockey rivals, Gustavsson was in a local hospital under observation.

The racing heartbeat that made him dizzy in camp and required a catheter ablation procedure flared up after he made eight first-period saves in a frantic opening period before a hostile crowd.

"We're not sure what this event was, we'll let the doctors decide," coach Ron Wilson said. "His heart came down on its own. The last incident, with the ablation, his heart never came down until they got him to the hospital. We don't expect it to be serious or long term.

"He had a cold and might have taken some medication that lingered. You take some Sudafed and feel your heart fluttering and that was the sensation he was having. (But) I'm not going to be responsible for someone keeling over in a game. It's not that important."

As soon as the training staff alerted him to Gustavsson's condition, Wilson ordered backup Joey MacDonald to warm up. Only three minutes remained in the intermission when teammates noticed Gustavsson draped in cold towels in the trainers' room. MacDonald stepped in and made 18 saves, giving the Leafs their first shutout in 103 games, an NHL high.

"I know we're all concerned for a teammate and hopefully he'll be fine," said MacDonald, who might start tomorrow in Columbus if Vesa Toskala's groin injury isn't 100% healed. "As a team, it's a big two points and we'll build on that."

The Leafs weathered an early power play and got a rare Colton Orr game-winning goal, his first of any kind as a Leaf and first in 76 NHL games.

Kaberle's assist put him past Horton into second place for scoring by a Toronto defenceman with 459 points. Only Borje Salming with 768 is ahead of him. Kaberle also tied Lanny McDonald for 12th overall in team scoring.

It's also 48 points in 56 games against the Habs for him.

Jeff Finger, back after four games out with a charley horse injury, made it 2-0 on a shaky Carey Price, while Toronto put the clamps on the faster Canadiens. Phil Kessel's stretch pass to Matt Stajan on a breakaway in the second period gave Toronto its first Northeast Division win (1-3-3), a night after losing by the same score to Buffalo.

Gustavsson spoke earlier yesterday of how pumped he was to be starting after watching the first two high-energy Toronto-Montreal clashes, both one-goal Leaf losses. He'd played Monday and started two others before that.

He had to stand just a few feet away from Anthony Calvillo and the Grey Cup as the Habs started the night with a deafening reception for the victorious Als, who came out en masse in the Leafs' corner for a long ovation.

LANCE.HORNBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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