The Toronto Maple Leafs decided to go with Jack Campbell in the first half of the weekend back-to-back and it turned out to be the right call.
With the Florida Panthers losing against the Edmonton Oilers, the Toronto Maple Leafs had an opportunity to get a four-point increase in the standings.
So with a back-to-back against two opponents near the bottom of the standings, Sheldon Keefe decided to go against conventional wisdom giving Jack Campbell the first game against the Ottawa Senators. That decision proved to be the right one with the Leafs picking up the 4-2 victory.
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Going 3-0-1 in the four starts since being acquired from the Los Angeles Kings, Campbell should be given a lot of credit not only for getting the wins when called upon but doing it in a situation he hasn’t really experienced during his NHL career.
With the Kings, the 28-year-old wasn’t in a position to play a lot of meaningful games but Kyle Dubas was more than willing to roll the dice on him. Now, it will be interesting to see what happens when Frederik Andersen goes up against the Buffalo Sabres.
Andersen’s return to the crease didn’t go as planned but it was also his first game back. At the same time, with the playoff race so tight, you wonder how long the leash will be for Andersen if he doesn’t get the win.
It will also help if the Leafs defence played like it did against the Senators blocking 21 shots after only having four against the Dallas Stars the other night.
Auston Matthews got his 42nd goal of the season and 70th point of the season becoming the first Leafs player to get to 70 in less than 60 games since Mats Sundin in 1996-97. In that season, Sundin had his best season with the Leafs putting up 94 points in 82 games which Matthews is on pace to surpass as he is projected to score 58 goals and 98 points.
The real question is how the Leafs plan to continue this with a tough stretch of games coming up against the Penguins, Hurricanes, Lightning, Panthers and Canucks before they go on their California road trip.
If they can continue to rely on Campbell and get the goal scoring production that Matthews has shown that he is capable of, it should hopefully be enough.
What did you think of Campbell’s performance? Did anything else stand out to you in their win over the Senators? Let us know in the comments below.