On a night where the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ power play continued to struggle and one breakdown could have been the difference, Jack Campbell made sure he did his part to secure another victory.
With the Winnipeg Jets looking to close the gap on the Leafs in the North Division, this is the game Toronto couldn’t afford to lose. Giving up a point wasn’t ideal but you’ll take the full two points.
There has been a lot of nervousness surrounding the Leafs’s goaltending situation mainly because of the mysterious injury to Frederik Andersen and the fact that Campbell doesn’t appear to be at 100 per cent. With 31 saves, Campbell improved to 8-0 on the season and hopefully, he can avoid tweaking what has been ailing him.
His teammates didn’t exactly make life easy on Campbell as he had to make some tough saves late in the game and with only one goal in regulation, the margin for error was really slim.
“The team’s winning, I’m trying to keep it going,” said Campbell after the game to reporters. “I’m just executing the game plan. (Assistant coach) Steve Briere is making it easy for me, mentally and physically.”
Toronto Maple Leafs: Power play continues to be a disaster, and it’s concerning
The main strength of this Leafs team was supposed to be their play with the man advantage. The team did get off on the right foot to start the season but it’s been a trainwreck the past few weeks.
Failing to score on a few power plays against Winnipeg, Toronto is now 0-for-27 and you wonder what this team needs to do to turn it around? In overtime with a 4-on-3 man advantage, the Leafs sent out John Tavares, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander and that didn’t do the trick, unfortunately.
There seems to be a lack of net-front presence, a true point shot that is allowing the opposing penalty killers to collapse low. At some point, this group will have to figure it out because if they don’t this could be a problem in the playoffs.
Sheldon Keefe has made it a point to emphasize his desire to roll out two units and wear down the opposing team’s penalty kill.
“We’re really focusing now on getting ourselves back to what our identity was to start the season,” Keefe told TSN’s Kristen Shilton, “which is two true units that are going to be fresh and are going to have legs and going to have urgency and going to push and compete with each other for the opportunity to get out on the ice. So that’s part of it, and then we’re just trying to get the puck snapping around and get [the players] feeling good.”
This is a situation where the Leafs could try to get penalty killers to move more and find a way to create more opportunities in the slot. Right now, this is the problem that needs to be corrected going forward and if Toronto can get it sorted out, this should get the offence going.
What are your thoughts on Campbell’s performance against the Jets? Is there any concern with him still battling injuries or the team’s power play? Let us know in the comments below.