TORONTO – Jonas Gustavsson lost some of his rookie shine Saturday night.
The 25-year-old Toronto rookie goaltender made just two saves and allowed three goals before being pulled in favour of the embattled Vesa Toskala less than 10 minutes into the Leafs’ 5-2 loss to Calgary.
Gustavsson had been off to a fast start, sporting a 3-3-3 record with a 2.77 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. As far as Leafs fans were concerned, he had supplanted incumbent Toskala as the Maple Leafs No. 1 man between the pipes.
“It’s not the start you want,” Gustavsson said, “but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Gustavsson was the victim of some pinpoint accuracy on Jarome Iginla’s opening goal of the game, a tip-in on the second and a deflection on the third.
“The first goal, the shot came really quick,” said Gustavsson when asked if he should have had any the three goals. “Maybe I could have had it, maybe not. Sometimes you have those pucks that just go in.”
“You have to keep working hard and not think about it too much, just move on.”
That will be the key for the young netminder. He’s been the early-season darling of Toronto through his first nine appearances, and deservedly so. Each game he seemed to make one or two great stops and wasn’t letting in easy goals.
Veteran Toronto blue-liner Tomas Kaberle offered some perspective on how Gustavsson needs to respond to his first poor game of the season.
“Sometimes you have nights like that,” he said. “Tomorrow is a new day. It happens to everybody, (former Leafs goalies) Eddie Belfour, Cujo (Curtis Joseph), everybody.
“The thing is to recover from that. They always battled hard, and Jonas is the same way.”
Leafs coach Ron Wilson was sympathetic to Gustavsson’s plight, but felt he had to pull him early – he had already used his lone timeout and couldn’t talk to his goalie.
“The first (goal) I think surprised him,” Wilson said. “It was just inside the post, it was almost the perfect shot. The second one squeaked through his legs. And the third one was a backhand – it was a one-on-one where they shot and it hit our defenceman. That’s bang-bang and the guy just floated one off the post.
“It was nothing major, he just kind of had some unfortunate luck on a couple of those goals.”