In the first of their back-to-back games against the Islanders, Jonas Gustavsson and the Toronto Maple Leafs shut out John Tavares and the New York Islanders. The shot total was a meager 25, but Gustavsson looked strong through a series of tough saves late in the second, and a flawless stand against the 14 shots in the third. It's great to see Gustavsson continue to work against his detractors, as he has a .927 over his past 16 starts, and it'll be great if he can sustain this performance through the rest of the season. Maybe he draws his inspiration from goalie-controversy PPP threads.
Toronto got out to an early start, with Matthew Lombardi scoring the first goal just 1:37 into the game. After a second period filled with dump, chase, and lose the puck (the Leafs had just 8 shots in the second, compared to the first period's 16), the Isles opened up their game to trade a series of rush attempts with the Leafs, where Phil Kessel capitalized. A bad change by the Isles and a nice pass by Joey Crabb sets Lombardi up with his second of the game, and the team walks away with two points.
The Leafs continued their super effective new penalty kill strategy: don't. They didn't take a penalty all game, and get to put another tally on their "games since last PK accident" card - up to 10 straight now.
Phaneuf did a good job of keeping Tavares to the perimeter, and Gunnarsson had an excellent game by every measure. Lombardi's two goal night was impressive, and Kadri played well overall. Luke Schenn's play was, well, a bit cement-handed, a little lumbering, and got him benched for the last 8 minutes, as Gunnarsson was on ice more often than not in the last ten minutes. No matter what you think about Schenn's potential, I think it's safe to say that Wilson doesn't have much faith in the blueliner right now. Wilson reunited the LBK line, but gave them pillow soft zone starts (a team leading -4) to compensate. Kulemin-Grabovski-Crabb got the D-zone starts.
The Isles are 4-1-2 this season in the game following a shutout, and 4-2-0 in the second half of back to backs, with one of those second-game losses coming against the Maple Leafs. Another two points up for grabs tomorrow night. Go Leafs go!