Monster stands tall but gets little help

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:41 PM ET

OTTAWA — When the doors to the Maple Leafs’ dressing room opened Saturday night, Jonas Gustavsson was all by himself, just like he was on the Scotiabank Place scoreboard.

He had made 25 saves in a 3-0 loss to the Senators and just as he has done throughout his run of games in place of Jean-Sebastien Giguere, he kept the game close in spite of frost-bitten Leafs forwards missing their mark.

In six of 10 of Gustavsson’s starts this season, Toronto has produced two goals or less for him. But he reached for his Leafs ball cap anyway to wear for the TV cameras.

“I’ve said before, I’m sure we’re going to get back here and we’re going to score a lot of goals,” the even-tempered Swede vowed. “We had scoring opportunities tonight, the puck is bouncing, we had open nets as they did when they scored. That’s just bad luck.

“You’re asking the wrong guy (about goals).”

Gustavsson’s streak could come to an end in a few days with Jean-Sebastien Giguere on the trip and just about ready to get back in. That could come as early as Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but Thursday versus the Edmonton Oilers is more likely.

But Gustavsson has learned a lot this month as he did in a strong run in March of his rookie season.

“This league is so tough that if you make a mistake, it will probably cost you a point,” he said. “But you can’t think about that, you have to play your game, trust yourself and trust in the rest of the guys.”

At the other end, Brian Elliott of the Sens turned aside 29 Leafs shots for his first shutout against Toronto and eighth in his NHL career. He was 2-6-1 versus Toronto entering the contest.

Phil Kessel had six of the Toronto shots and there was one off of the post from Tyler Bozak in the third after he fanned on a great one in the second.

“We didn’t really have any letdowns,” Elliott said, after Pascal Leclaire had started the club’s past three. “They didn’t really have any chances. We stayed out of the penalty box and kept everything to the outside.”

Mike Fisher, who has been tough on Toronto the past couple of years, had two goals.

“We got some chances early and all of us were feeling pretty good and making plays,” said Fisher, who scored his first goal at home since Oct. 28. “It’s one of those nights where things clicked and we got confidence.”

Coach Cory Clouston said he was pleased to see the line of Fisher, Milan Michalek and Alexei Kovalev contribute.

“We’re not always going to get it from one or two guys,” Clouston said. “It has to be spread out, but it’s nice to see that line really click.

“It allows us, if the focus is on one line (Jason Spezza’s line played against Kessel’s), we like our chances as far as depth is concerned.”


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