Curtis Joseph goes into every game believing he’s going to win.
But there’s always a chance he might lose.
If he loses just three more times — exactly the number of games for which Martin Gerber is suspended — Joseph would be the league’s all-time losingest goalie.
Joseph heads into tonight’s action against the Buffalo Sabres with 350 career losses, trailing Gump Worsley (352) and Gilles Meloche (351) in that ignomonious statistic.
But Joseph shrugs off the Ls.
“It just means I’ve been around for a while,” said Joseph.
Of course, his Ws are much more impressive. He has 453 all-time, standing fourth on that list. His last win — coming in to a 2-2 game with just 57 seconds left and winning in a shootout — was nothing short of spectacular. The 40-year-old stonewalled Alex Ovechkin in the final minute, made another eight saves in overtime and stopped all three Washington Capitals snipers in the shootout.
“I just think Curtis has always been able to rise up to the occasion,” said fellow greybeard Brad May, 37.
“In Tampa Bay a week ago, he was unbelievable.
“The other night against Washington, I know for a fact he hadn’t stretched in a few hours. He’s just a guy you always want to cheer for.”
He had the crowd of 19,000 chanting his name — “CuJo” — just like old times, when he was the star netminder of a Toronto club that regularly went deep into the playoffs.
The love affair with Joseph ended after the 2001–2002 season, when he signed with the Detroit Red Wings. Joseph hinted at wanting to play for a team that could win it all, implying the Leafs were not such a team. Joseph isn’t going to play all three games for which Gerber is suspended. Justin Pogge is likely to get the start tomorrow (Saturday). But he hopes to carry forward his shutout performance – albeit for five-minutes, 57 seconds – from Tuesday night.
“Momentum, you want to build on it, you want to keep it going,” said Joseph. “You don’t want to think about it. You try and ride the wave and be as good for as long as possible.”