Shut out earns Joey Mac next start

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:22 AM ET

COLUMBUS -- It was 103 games between shutouts and it took two goaltenders to do it, but the big defensive effort couldn't have come at a more opportune time for the Maple Leafs.

So who gets the most credit for Tuesday’s 3-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens - Jonas Gustavsson (who played the first 20 minutes before retiring with a heart issue) or Joey MacDonald (who came on in long relief)?

“Hats off to both of them,” Leafs defenceman Mike Komisarek said of the team’s first shutout in more than a calendar year. “Joey Mac was a wall. I don’t know who gets the shutout, maybe we’ll cut the puck in half.”

The previous Leafs shutout came in Game 4 of the 2008-09 season when Vesa Toskala blanked the Rangers in New York only to see his team lose in a shootout after a 0-0 draw.

For his efforts, MacDonald will be rewarded with the start for Thursday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Pictou, N.S. native learned he would be replacing Gustavsson with about four minutes remaining in the first intermission which cut down on the opportunity to panic.

“I didn’t really have time to think about it,” MacDonald said Wednesday. “I just didn’t want to give up the first shot otherwise you are going to be under siege.”

The previous time Leafs goaltenders combined for a shutout was on Nov. 4, 1987 in another 0-0 tie at San Jose. That night, Glenn Healy’s hand was cut but a Shark’s skate late in the game and Marcel Cousineau filled in.

The goaltending situation continues to be a troublesome one given that both Toskala and Gustavsson have been forced out of the lineup at different times just when they were starting to get some momentum.

“It’s been tough to see,” Leafs centre Wayne Primeau said. “When both get onto a kind of roll, something happens. I guess it gives the opportunity for (MacDonald) to come in and hopefully nothing bad happens to him.”


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