Toronto Maple Leafs need Jack Campbell, John Tavares to regain confidence

Toronto Maple Leafs forward John Tavares (91) congratulates goaltender Jack Campbell (36) after his shutout win: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Toronto Maple Leafs forward John Tavares (91) congratulates goaltender Jack Campbell (36) after his shutout win: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Maple Leafs escaped from an almost embarrassing night as Jack Campbell and John Tavares continue to struggle.

It is never a dull moment for the Toronto Maple Leafs who managed to turn what should have been a dominant 7-2 lead into a near meltdown as they came away with a thrilling 10-7 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

The third period was an adventure in net for all the goaltenders involved including Jack Campbell who had his struggles magnified to the point where it’s tough to trust him right now. Head coach Sheldon Keefe didn’t mince his words when asked about his goaltender after the game.

“Jack has to be better. That goal to start the period is a nothing play, really. It is a routine save that he can make there,” Keefe said. ” He doesn’t, and it kind of snowballs from there. That is a tough one that he has to have — and he will have.”

If you look at the goals he let in against Detroit, you can see that there is a confidence issue plaguing Campbell considering he isn’t making the routine saves. It also put Petr Mrazek in a terrible spot as he went into the game cold and the Red Wings were given new life.

For the time being, Mrazek should be given the next few games and hopefully, that allows Campbell a chance to get a mental reset. Since Jan. 1, neither Campbell (8-3-2, 3.49 GAA, .887 sv% in 15 games) or Mrazek (6-3, 2.73 GAA, .899 sv%) have been putting up strong numbers and the team can’t expect to outscore their way out of every problem.

The Leafs are going to need Campbell to get his game back considering he was one of the few bright spots in the playoffs last year.

John Tavares searching for answers as his goal-scoring drought continues

As captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, John Tavares has been an exemplary leader off the ice. Lately, his production on the ice has been in the spotlight as he hasn’t scored since Jan. 29 against the Red Wings.

It says something when a player is visibly showing his frustration on the ice when things aren’t going their way. What it shows is that he cares and isn’t accepting his current standard of play.

"“I want to be a difference-maker,” Tavares told reporters via Sportsnet’s Luke Fox. “I have high standards for myself and expect a lot. It’s about managing my emotion.“Sometimes it can be good to let it out, but obviously other times you don’t want to let it get in your way,” Tavares added. “Important to manage that correctly, and I still think I can do a better job putting [my] focus on that next shift and next opportunity, knowing there’s a lot of game to be played and lots of time to make a difference – and not just offensively.”"

Tavares’ drought would be a much bigger problem if the top line of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and Michael Bunting wasn’t producing at a dominant level right now. At this rate, Tavares should be able to turn his game around and maybe this is where his linemates, namely William Nylander, can pick him up a bit more.

Also, Sheldon Keefe can try to find ways to get Tavares up with Matthews and Marner more often and maybe playing with them can try to help him turn things around.

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What are your thoughts on Campbell and Tavares’ struggles over the last month or so and what can they do to turn things around? Let us know in the comments below.