The Monster's Turn
PITTSBURGH--Ron Wilson said it was the plan all along. He just didn't divulge the plan.
And so, sophomore goaltender Jonas Gustavsson will get the start in net tonight for the Maple Leafs against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins, Gustavsson's first start of the season after J.S. Giguere won both of the club's season opening home starts over Montreal and Ottawa.
"He had a pretty good camp, and he's looked good in practice, so we'll see how he does tonight," said Wilson.
Last season, Gustavsson appeared in 42 games going 16-15-9 with a .902 save percentage and a 2.87 goals-against average. Not bad for a first year NHLer who underwent two heart procedures during the season. At least he'll have a chance to be prepared for his first NHL game this fall. Last fall, he relieved Vesa Toskala partway through a 6-4 defeat at the hands of Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.
Gustavsson faced the Penguins once last year, dropping a 4-1 decision at the ACC on Jan. 9 when he stopped 35 shots.
In three games this season, Crosby and Evgeny Malkin have combined for just one goal and one assist, and it won't be too long before they break out.
"We're going to have our hands full," said Wilson. "We'll have to be aware when those two guys are on the ice."
It will be Pittsburgh's third home game at the magnificent, high-tech Consol Energy Centre, and they have yet to win a game. The new rink has many intriguing features, including Studio 66, an ice-level restaurant for high-end corporate clients, a 20,000 piece mosaic of Mario Lemieux, with each piece a picture of a Penguins fan, and a virtual display of the 15 members of the Penguins all-time team featuring videos, pictures and biographical information that's open to the public all day.
For tonight, the Pens won't have two key members of their blueline corps for tonight's game. Brooks Orpik is out with a groin strain, while Zbynek Michalek could be seen walking past the dressing room today with his right shoulder in a black sling. It's expected he could be out for months, although more will be known when he sees a specialist later today.
Pittsburgh is already missing centre Jordan Staal, who underwent five operations over the summer to deal with an infection in his foot that dates back to a skate cut picked up in the playoffs last spring.
Staal actually skated on his own today, but isn't close to returning.
"There will be no rushing Jordan back," said Pens coach Dan Bylsma. "This isn't a sign he's ahead of schedule."