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Monster, Stalberg Lead The Way

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO -- The Monster has made his impact with the Toronto Maple Leafs.


Jonas Gustavsson stopped all 15 shots he faced in his first pre-season game at Air Canada Centre to help the Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 on Saturday night.

Minor heart surgery kept the prized free agent on the sidelines through much of the Leafs training camp. Since returning to action, he hasn't allowed a goal over 60 minutes of play.

Carl Gunnarson and Viktor Stalberg scored for Toronto (5-2-0).

Brad Stuart replied for the Red Wings (2-3-1).

Gustavsson's best save came in the third period when Johan Ryno and Jan Mursak got free on a breakway. The Swedish goalie calmly slid across his crease to block Mursak's shot, eliciting the largest cheer all evening from the fans at Air Canada Centre.

The teams were playing each other for the second time in as many nights and it resulted in a somewhat sluggish game. The first sign of real action didn't come until late in the first period when Niklas Hagman, Matt Stajan and Jason Blake - likely the Leafs top line to start the season - buzzed around the Detroit end and directed a couple of quality chances at Chris Osgood.

It was the Wings that opened the scoring soon after on an innocent-looking play. Stuart floated a shot from the point that squeezed through Vesa Toskala with 34.1 seconds left in the opening period.

Gustavsson was inserted after the intermission and wouldn't be beat by the Wings - the same thing that happened during his 20 minutes of work at Joe Louis Arena on Friday night.

A power play allowed the Leafs to tie the game 1-1 at 3:59 of the second. Alex Ponikarovsky was screening Osgood as Gunnarson's hard point shot found the net.

The Red Wings weren't generating many scoring chances at that point, but Gustavsson looked solid when they did. He got his glove on Justin Abdelkader's shot midway through the second.

Another Swede, Stalberg, ensured that he would get the victory.

He redirected a pass behind Jimmy Howard and into the top corner at 6:44 of the third period _ his team-leading fifth pre-season goal. Don't be surprised if Stalberg is one of the players that cracks Ron Wilson's team when the regular season begins on Thursday.

Toronto plays its ninth and final exhibition game against Buffalo on Sunday evening. The Red Wings also wrap up their pre-season schedule Sunday by hosting Pittsburgh _ a rematch of the past two Stanley Cup finals.

Notes:
Bob Probert and Wendel Clark took part in a ceremonial faceoff before the game ... The Red Wings will be back at Air Canada Centre on Nov. 7 for the lone regular-season meeting between the teams ... Leafs prospect Nazem Kadri watched from the press box. It was only the second pre-season game he sat out ... Announced attendance was 18,825.

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