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Streak Over, Monster Shines

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Matthew Iaboni

December 19, 2009
Air Canada Centre
Toronto, ON
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Holding a 1-0 lead after the second period, the Leafs were in desperate need of an insurance marker and Jason Blake obliged half-way through the third when he beat Tuukka Rask top shelf.

It was all the Leafs would need as they picked up their first home shutout this season and first at home since November 17, 2007. The Leafs snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Bruins.

18 Days between starts for Jonas Gustavsson.
9-0-1 Leafs record when leading after two periods.
3 Leafs wins against the Northeast Division this season.
27:37 Ice-time for Ian White which is a season high.
3-3-1 Leafs record in the second game of back-to-backs.
1st Star
Jonas Gustavsson
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2nd Star
Tomas Kaberle
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3rd Star
Jason Blake
G A P +/- Shots
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Jonas Gustavsson started his first game since December 1st against the Canadiens and he didn't miss a beat. Gustavsson didn't have to make a ton of huge saves but he stopped all 25 that were directed his way for his first NHL shutout.

With the Leafs leading 1-0 in the second, Gustavsson stopped Byron Bitz in close and with the Bruins looking to tie the game, he fought through traffic and made several key saves to preserve the win.

Nikolai Kulemin had one of his best games as a Maple Leaf on Saturday. Kulemin is one of Ron Wilson's top penalty killers and against the Bruins, he was consistently in the shooting lanes either breaking up plays with his stick or blocking shots.

Although expectations were for Kulemin to be a big goal scorer, he has fit in nicely with Wayne Primeau and Lee Stempniak. Kulemin saw a season high 18:28 of ice-time.

Saturday's game wasn't very pretty as both teams have had heavy schedules and both played Friday. The game lacked energy. The teams did their best to make it a physical affair as they combined for 29 hits.

Francois Beauchemin led the Leafs with three hits while Johnny Boychuk had four hits for the Bruins. Late in the third Boychuk's hit on Matt Stajan caused a melee which saw Tomas Kaberle jump in to protect his teammate.

Ron Wilson's thoughts on the play of Nikolai Kulemin:

"Kulie, I don’t think he got a point tonight, but that’s by the far the best game he’s ever played in the NHL. He was blocking shots; his stick was always in the right spot, winning battles, great on the fore check...I thought he had a great night."

Monday December 21 vs. Buffalo Sabres 7 PM ET (Sportsnet, AM640)

Game Notes:
The Leafs and Sabres meet for the second time in four days as the Leafs look to get some revenge for Friday's 5-2 defeat against  the steady Ryan Miller.

The Sabres have won all three meetings this season and the last eight games between the two teams.

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