The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without No. 1 goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere for over a week. If Jonas Gustavsson continues his stellar play, they may not have much to fret about.
Gustavsson will get his second start in place of the injured Giguere on Saturday night when Toronto travels to Montreal hoping to beat its biggest rival for the fourth straight time.
The Maple Leafs ended an eight-game losing streak Tuesday with a 5-4 win against Nashville, as Gustavsson replace Giguere in the third period and stopped six shots to preserve the win. Gustavsson then followed that with a 3-1 victory Thursday against New Jersey, making 29 saves.
Giguere lost five straight starts before leaving with a strained groin against the Predators.
"He played really well," coach Ron Wilson said of Gustavsson. "He made a lot of saves and used his size well on shots that he could see."
Gustavsson, who is 2-3-1 with a 2.55 goals-against average this season, will be relied on to backstop the Maple Leafs (7-8-3) until Giguere returns. He's 2-0-1 with a 2.06 GAA against the Canadiens in his career.
"Games with a big rival are always fun to play because you really want to win those games," Gustavsson said. "That's a game I'm really looking forward to."
Phil Kessel scored for the second time in three games after going seven straight without a goal.
"We lost quite a bit in a row and now we've won two," Kessel said. "Hopefully, we can get a couple more."
Toronto goes for its fourth straight win against Montreal, which ends a four-game homestand.
The Canadiens (12-6-1) had their four-game winning streak snapped Thursday with a 3-0 loss to Nashville. It was the third time the Canadiens have been shut out this season and the first time Carey Price has allowed more than two goals since a 3-2 loss to Ottawa on Nov. 6.
"We just didn't have it," captain Brian Gionta said. "The jump wasn't there, the emotion wasn't there, we were just kind of flat right from the beginning and it obviously showed. We weren't crisp on our passes, we weren't making the smart play, we were back on our heels pretty much all night."
It was a different look from the previous four victories which helped Montreal take over the Northeast Division lead, and coach Jacques Martin noticed it.
"It wasn't the Xs and Os that were the problem (Thursday)," Martin said. "It was a lack of intensity, determination and a desire to win those tough battles and go into high-traffic areas that cost us."
Price will likely get the start again, but he's lost four of his last five starts against Toronto, including a 3-2 defeat Oct. 7.
Leading scorer Tomas Plekanec and forward Mike Cammalleri had their five-game point streaks come to an end against the Predators, and Andrei Kostitsyn has only one goal in his last 10 games after scoring seven in his first nine.
Toronto is 4-0-1 in its last five meetings with Montreal.