It's restaurant week here in DC, but I could've just stayed at home and eaten some of the delicious crow that Gustavsson was serving up in Toronto. He's stopped 93 of the last 96 shots he's faced, and has two shutouts in his last two shutout - the last goalie to shutout the Sabres at the ACC? JS Aubin. While his recent performances don't erase his early season play, it's fair to say that November, December, and January have represented the best stretch of play by Gustavsson as a Leaf, posting a .917 over 14 starts, pulling his season SVP up to .908. Not bad for a guy whose career was on death's doorstep just two months ago.
I only saw the third period, but Kulemin had a great game tonight, as he potted a goal, an assist, and a huge hit on Scumbag Kaleta. Franson looked good in the third, and Grabbo's backhander to beat Miller was a beauty. Organizing the Time On Ice charts by lines shows that Wilson was still rolling pretty evenly through the third period, and Brown-Steckel-Boyce remained the only three forwards at even-or-better Corsi and Fenwick numbers. Isn't it nice to have a fourth line that isn't dead weight?
If we've gotta talk about something negative, MacArthur-Lombardi-Kadri did not do well by puck possession metrics tonight. In part that'll be due to scoring effects (trailing teams shoot more), but for roughly 13 minutes of ES-TOI, I'd expect them to be closer to the team average.
Ville Leino remained well rested, as he is no doubt saving his 4.5 million dollar production for the playoffs, but as Buffalo notches their seventh consecutive road loss, it looks more and more like he's not going to get a chance to showcase his talents in 2012.
These two teams play again on Friday. We'll see if Wilson chooses to keep riding the "win-and-you're-in" philosophy - Gustavsson has earned the opportunity to show his detractors* whether or not this Gustavsson is here to stay.
* Everyone who isn't VRN.