Jack Campbell was able to bounce back from a rough outing but can he find his early-season form for the Toronto Maple Leafs?
Going into Tuesday’s game against the New Jersey Devils, it was interesting to see the Toronto Maple Leafs decide to go back with Jack Campbell in net.
Head coach Sheldon Keefe would have been justified to sit Campbell in favour of Petr Mrazek but the head coach decided to challenge his starting goaltender. Not only was the coach sending a message to Campbell but also to the players playing in front of him.
Clearly, the message was received as Campbell made 31 saves in the victory as his teammates came out flying with four goals in the first period. From there, it was up to the Leafs goaltender to remain composed and not provide any opening for the Devils to try and mount a comeback.
"“In a game like this, where we score so much, you tend to overlook the goaltending part of it. That’s the Jack that’s played, really, all season for us like that,” Keefe said about Campbell to reporters.“I love the way that he battled and responded tonight. Frankly, not a surprise — because he’s a guy that is a competitor. He wanted to get back in the net here tonight.”"
A performance like this will go a long way for Campbell’s psyche which has admittedly been a part of his game that he has worked on a lot since joining the Leafs. This is his first full season as a starting goaltender so it’s no surprise that he’s been through some ups and downs.
The challenge for Campbell is proving he’s capable of getting back to his early form especially in November when he went 9-2 with a 1.27 GAA and a .959 save percentage instead of the .879 save percentage he had in January.
There was justification for the concern among Leafs fans when he was starting to slip up but fortunately, the team still found ways to win in spite of that.
It’ll also help if Mrazek can provide stability behind Campbell so that the Leafs aren’t riding him too much especially with the team having to play their rescheduled games soon.
What are your thoughts on Campbell’s play of late? Do you think he is able to turn the corner when the team returns from the All-Star break? Let us know in the comments below.