Leafs give Jiggy a rest

Jonas Gustavsson gets his second start of the season for the Leafs tonight. (QMI Agency/Dave Thomas)

Jonas Gustavsson gets his second start of the season for the Leafs tonight. (QMI Agency/Dave Thomas)

DAVE HILSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:20 PM ET

TORONTO - Swedish goaltender Jonas Gustavsson will get his first home start of the season when the Toronto Maple Leafs take on the undermanned New York Rangers in what promises to be a heated rematch at the Air Canada Centre on Thursday night.

Gustavsson picked up a win in his first start of the year, stopping 22 of 25 shots in a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 13. Leafs coach Ron Wilson said he expects more strong play from the 6-foot-3 netminder when he gets between the pipes in front of the home crowd.

“I don’t think he’ll have any nerves,” Wilson said after the Leafs morning skate on Thursday. “He’s played in this building before and I believe (goaltender Martin) Biron is playing for the Rangers so it’s not like he is looking down and his idol (fellow Swede Henrik Lundqvist) is facing him or anything like that. He’s worked really hard in practice and had a good game in Pittsburgh, so I expect him to play a good game tonight.”

The Leafs (4-0-1) defeated the Rangers 4-3 in overtime on Friday night to spoil New York’s home opener. Perhaps more devastating to the Rangers (1-2-1) than the defeat was the loss of star forward Marian Gaborik, who suffered a separated shoulder on a hit by Leafs forward Colby Armstrong. Captain Chris Drury also exited the game, with a broken left index finger. Gaborik is expected to miss up to four weeks as a result of the injury and there is speculation the Rangers will be out for blood, specifically Armstrong’s.

“It’s good if they’re angry. We’ll see what happens,” Armstrong said after the morning skate. “I’m just going to play my game. That was just part of the game what happened with the hit. I don’t think it was dirty at all. Unfortunately, he got hurt. It was an awkward play ... I’ll definitely keep my head on a swivel tonight,” said Armstrong, who was assessed a boarding penalty on the Gaborik hit.

The Rangers will also be without injured centre Vinny Prospal.

Brett Lebda will, once again, be starting on the blue line for the Leafs, in place of Carl Gunnarsson.


Videos

Photos