Jonas Gustavsson completely redeeemed himself but it wasn't quite enough as the Maple Leafs lost 4-2 to the Philadelphia Flyers. Well, that's not entirely true. Gus was much better than he was against Boston (not hard) but it's a sign of just how low the bar has been set that people were actually suggesting that Gustavsson had somehow shoved the mountains of criticism up the backsides of his critics. He did seem much more controlled in his movement and made a spectacular save on Jagr's second breakaway. Sadly, in the end, he gave up the 'next' goal when the score was 2-1 Flyers on the shortside and I don't think it's unfair to say that Reimer probably makes that save.
|2011 - Scott Hartnell||7||0||2||2||0||10||0||0||0||7|
When you can trace your demise to Scott Hartnell, a guy who has spawned the hashtag #HartnellDown because he falls down so often, then it is probably not your night. His first goal actually came on a spectacular save by Jonas Gustavsson after the Leafs' penalty killers manager to cross their wires. Unfortunately, he was fully stretched and Hartnell was able to push his leg and the puck over the line. His second ran off of Jake Gardiner's stick and highlights how Gustavsson seems to get his angles wrong.
Not that the Leafs made it easy on him. He frequently bailed out the team as they allowed themselves to be besieged thanks to a proclivity for making cross-ice passes near the blueline and weak backhanded clearances. It's those spells that give fodder to those that would forget the majority of Gustavsson's career because they looked a lot like what we were hoping for when he selected Toronto.
On the backend, Jake Gardiner keeps showing a lot of flashes of brilliance right before showing glimpses of why he still needs more seasoning. His work with the puck is generally positive and he'd have picked up a couple of assists if a couple of forwards had been a bit more ready to shoot the puck. His speed actually helps to cover some of his positioning errors.
Among the forwards, another rookie continued to show that he belonged. Matt Frattin's first goal is still to come but his strong decision-making, skating, and effort were rewarded with his first NHL point on a pretty weird play. He beat the defender and fired a high pass to David Steckel which wasn't very good. Luckily, it hit his hip, Bobrovsky's stick, and trickled back into the net.
Ultimately, the Leafs' put forth a better effort for a larger portion of the game than they have in their last few outings but they didn't steal any points. There are still some kinks to work out (ie how does Jagr get a breakaway on a powerplay when both defencemen were almost on their own blueline) but the soft early schedule has given them a cushion which they'll need because the special teams certainly look pretty 'special'.