MacDonald still the man

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:27 AM ET

BOSTON -- With Jonas Gustavsson home in Toronto recovering from his latest heart scare, the Maple Leafs are going to stick with an east coaster in net for tomorrow's game against the Bruins.

Joey MacDonald, who is coming off back-to-back hot appearances, will get a shot at his second win as a Leaf.

The Pictou, N.S., native was stellar in Thursday's 6-3 win over Columbus, particularly in a second period in which he only allowed one goal on 17 shots.

"Right now we're feeling good about ourselves," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said following a brisk noon-hour practice yesterday at the TD Banknorth Garden. "It's all about winning. Joey's in a groove right now and we're going to go with him."

Wilson had considered starting Vesa Toskala tonight, but with the team riding a two-game win streak and having won four of their past five, why mess with a good thing?

MONSTER OK

As for Gustavsson, preliminary reports are that his surgery yesterday in Toronto -- a procedure known as an ablation -- went well and that he should be able to return to the team within 10 days.

"The report we got is the doctors are confident that they fixed everything," Wilson said. "So we don't think it's going to be an issue anymore."

Though the Columbus effort was his only win as a Leaf, MacDonald was also strong Tuesday in Montreal when he came on in relief of Gustavsson for the last two periods for the Leafs first shutout in more than 100 games. But in his first three starts in mid-October, MacDonald was suspect and couldn't get a win.

"If it wasn't for Mac, we might have lost that game 7-6," Leafs defenceman Francois Beauchemin said of the Columbus win. "He made some huge saves."

The ongoing injury woes of Toronto's goaltenders has shown the value of having a competent third man on the farm.

"Last year we didn't have that," Wilson said. "If we had to call somebody up, it usually wasn't a good result."

MacDonald hopes to ride his hot hand for as long as he's able.

"I'm not looking ahead right now, I'm taking this in," MacDonald said. "I know Vesa's ready to go and biting at the bit. He wants to get an opportunity to prove himself too."

ROB.LONGLEY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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