Minor setback for Gustavsson

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:20 PM ET

TORONTO - Leafs coach Ron Wilson believes the heart ablation surgery performed on goaltender Jonas Gustavsson on Friday in London, Ont., is minor enough but a setback nonetheless because of the time he’s going to miss as he tries to get his game back on track.

The Monster underwent a third procedure for the ailment after being pulled from a game Wednesday at the Ricoh Coliseum, interrupting a conditioning stint with the Marlies. While he’s only supposed to be sidelined for a week, it will be two to three before he can be expected back in a game situation.

“You’re always concerned with anything to do with the heart, but he’s been through two of these already and come out of them fine,” Wilson said.

“It’s too bad that this popped up because he played really well in the four periods (down with the Marlies) and had only given up a goal. And the schedule was set up perfectly where he was going to be on the road and get some good quality work in.”

Fight nights

Talk in both dressing rooms Saturday morning at the Bell Centre was the wild fight-filled game the previous night that would have done UFC president Dana White proud.

The Islanders and Penguins fought and scrapped and fought some more through a game that had 346 penalty minutes showing how the tenor of the season changes around this time. It was the second major fight night of the week, temporarily replacing head shots as the hot topic of conversation.

“It was line brawl after line brawl,” Leafs forward Kris Versteeg said. “It’s something you have to go back to your junior days to see. I haven’t seen it too much the last few years.

“But when the Islanders put six or seven tough guys in the lineup, you have to be ready.”

Montreal forward Brian Gionta, whose team was in its own feisty affair Thursday in Boston said it’s something to be expected this time of year.

“We don’t really have a team built for fighting, but guys stick up for each other,” Gionta said. “Tempers are going to flair.

“It’s a playoff type atmosphere now down the stretch teams area scrambling for points, it’s going to happen sometimes.”

Wilson figures two games don’t necessarily mean a trend.

“There’s been a lot of this stuff happening lately and I think it’s one, because we are getting closer to the trade deadline and two, teams are really starting to ratchet up the intensity because of the playoff races,” Wilson said.

They’re all big

A strong run since the all-star break has the Leafs on the edges of the final spot in the Eastern Conference as they enter Saturday’s play eight points behind eighth-place Atlanta.

While the players appreciate the recent run of success since the all-star break, goaltender J-S Giguere said the team doesn’t have the luxury of looking forward or behind.

“I think we need to be thinking one game at a time not worrying who are opponent is in two or three days time,” said Giguere. who got the start in his home town Saturday night in front of family and friends. “We have to worry tonight about the Canadiens and try to get two points and move on and see where we are in the standings.

“But I firmly believe if we keep playing well like this we’ll give ourselves a chance and that’s all we can ask for.”


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