Cambridge - Oct. 28, 2011 - In somewhat of a surprise, goaltender Jonas “The Monster” Gustavsson showed up to face the New York Rangers Thursday night at their home opener at Madison Square Garden.
And the Monster didn’t disappoint. Simply put, he outplayed veteran Henrik Lundqvist at the opposite end as the Leafs doubled-up the Rangers in convincing fashion, 4-2. He stopped 28 of the 30 pucks fired in his direction while Lundqvist stopped 29 of 33.
Gustavsson was a surprise starter as it was thought that first-string netminder James Reimer would be back and healthy, but the Leafs announced he still was having neck issues, as well as concussion-like symptoms. It’s thought that Reimer will not be in the lineup Saturday to face the Pittsburgh Penguins. Reimer was injured in the Montreal game last Saturday, when he had a collision with Brian Gionta.
Tim Connolly made his Leafs debut, and while he didn’t register a point, he played well in his first game of the season. Connolly is coming off a shoulder injury.
Matthew Lombardi, Joffrey Lupul, Clarke MacArthur and even Mike Brown scored the goals for Toronto. For Brown, it was his first goal since March of this year. Phil Kessel, who leads the NHL, was held without a goal. Kessel did have his chances as he faced Lundqvist twice on clear breakaways, but was turned aside on both instances.
The win lifts the Maple Leafs record to 6-2-1.
The game marked the Rangers first game at home this season. They returned to a freshly renovated MSG.
Notes: Colton Orr, Jay Rosehill and Cody Franson did not dress to face the Rangers. Ben Scrivens was recalled from the Toronto Marlies to serve as the backup goaltender while forward Nazem Kadri was sent down to the AHL affiliate.