I had a theory before last night’s Toronto Maple Leafs-Boston Bruins matchup.
It goes as such:
Last week, Joey MacDonald completed a shutout against the Montreal Canadiens. He then went on to backstop the Leafs in their win against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Before the Saturday night game against the Bruins, head coach Ron Wilson went on record to say that he’d be sticking with Joey MacDonald as long as he kept playing well.
I can only imagine how poor Vesa Toskala must have felt after hearing this.
Toskala was once again healthy and no longer had to worry about Jonas Gustavsson—sidelined with an irregular heartbeat—over his shoulder.
Joey MacDonald was supposed to be the team’s third-stringer and was now winning starts over the team’s No. 1.
Fortunately for Toskala, Joey’s stretch of brilliant goaltending came to an end against the Bruins. Toskala got to see some ever-important icetime in the third period, albeit he did let in three goals. By then, though, the Leafs were certainly demoralized and the Bruins had scoring chances aplenty.
In the team’s next game, Toskala showed flashes of brilliance. The Leafs went on to spank the Atlanta Thrashers by a score of 5-2 and Vesa looked good all the while.
When the Islanders came to Toronto on Wednesday, Toskala shined once again. After playing two periods of shutout hockey, Toskala finally succumbed on a John Tavares 5-on-3 goal. Later on in the period, Tavares knotted the game at two as he just got one by during another PP.
After reclaiming the lead late, Vesa stood strong. He was out to prove his coach, his teammates, and Toronto Maple Leaf fans worldwide that they were wrong. He was a fantastic goalie when he played for the San Jose Sharks—there should be no reason why he couldn’t reach his previous, stellar form.
And then came the second part of back-to-nights, against the Boston, Bruins, no less…
Toskala can’t be the only person to shoulder the blame for the 5-2 loss. The Bruins seem to consistently outclass the Leafs.
Penalties killed the Leafs and any chances they had at making a comeback.
I don’t think that Toskala is ready, at this point, at least, to steal the show and get the win.
However, I do think that he is the smarter, more, efficient option when it comes to choosing between he and Joey Macdonald.
I’m pretty sure that Coach Wilson would agree with me and was just using some psychological tactics to get his Finnish net-minder back to top form.
We’ll see if I’m right about this in the coming games.