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Gustavsson Posts Shutout in Leafs Second Win in a Row



Leafs win 4-0 but Dion Phaneuf leave the game

after taking a puck to the face

PHOTO: mapleleafs.com

The Leafs climb back into a playoff spot with a convincing 4-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Winnipeg, who lost last night to Montreal, were no match for the Leafs. Jonas Gustavsson earned his first shutout since December 19, 2009. Gustavsson didn't have to make very many saves, but when he was called upon, he was perfect on all of the 24 shots the Jets put at Toronto's net.

The biggest improvement about Jonas Gustavsson's game is that he looked confident. There have been far too many games this year where he looked really shaky and lacked the confidence that a good NHL goaltender needs, but after tonight I am pretty optimistic to see what he can do on Saturday nights game against the Red Wings (I would assume he would be the starting goaltender). James Reimer sits at the end of the bench, on the outside looking in. It's not that he has played really bad, the results are what matters and with Gustavsson earning two wins in as many games in the new year, how do you justify starting Reimer? The Monster will really press Reimer and it will be nice to see some improved goaltending, from both goalies, knowing that one bad game could have you on the bench for a week or two.

Just five minutes into the first period the Leafs opened the scoring. Phil Kessel tucked the puck in for his 23rd goal of the season. In the second period Tim Connolly had the lone goal for the Maple Leafs and Grabovski and MacArthur each scored in the third. The win tonight puts the Leafs back into a playoff spot just one game away from the half way point of the season.

The Leafs were perfect on the PK again tonight, although they only took one penalty. With the improvement on the penalty kill and the fact that they aren't taking as many trips to the penalty box, the Leafs are giving themselves a much better chance at winning games, and ultimately making the playoffs.

Colton Orr cleared waivers and report to the Toronto Marlies. Orr has been a healthy scratch for the Maple Leafs for all but five games this season and was send down due to the return of Mike Brown. He has been on the IR for quite some time now and the Leafs feel that he will be ready to return within the next couple of games.

There's some bad news on the injury front though. Dion Phaneuf took a puck to the face in the third period and did not return to the game. The Leafs had already built a solid lead and Winnipeg showed no signs of making a come back, so he could have been kept in the back for precautionary reasons. Ron Wilson did not have an update on his condition as he spoke to the media following the game. It didn't appear that Phaneuf lost any teeth during the play but he was bleeding on the ice. Hopefully the injury to the Leafs captain is not a major set-back and it would be nice to see him on the ice as the Leafs host Detriot on Saturday night.

If you missed the game, here's a video of the puck hitting Phaneuf in the face...

Dion Phaneuf hit in the face with the puck

Saturday will be the third game of the Leafs current four-game home stretch. They will also host the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night. On Friday the Leafs head into Buffalo to complete the home at home, which is divided by a two day resting period. They will return home to square off against the Rangers next Saturday night as they open a five-game home swing. The Leafs have been much better at the Air Canada Centre than they have been on the road. Stacking a few victories this month may prove to be very useful down the stretch run as they search for the post season.



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