The controversy is over, if not moot.
With goaltender Frederik Andersen lacking in motion because of a lower-body damage and no clear timetable to return, Jack Campbell has stepped in and continued to assist the Toronto Maple Leafs pile up victories.
On Friday, Campbell made 31 saves as his group defeated the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 in a shootout and improved to 8-0-0 this season with a .951 save proportion.
With the sport tied 1-1 within the third interval, Campbell made a number of game-saving stops because the Jets pressured for the go-ahead purpose.
The primary tough save got here on a 3-on-2 after Mitch Marner turned the puck over in his personal zone. The Jets collapsed towards the web earlier than getting the puck to Pierre-Luc Dubois on the precise facet. However Campbell slid throughout to make a pad save.
A few minutes later, Campbell made a few saves. The latter, a rebound as he robbed Andrew Copp
The barrage of hell from the Jets concluded moments later when Kyle Connor tried one other shot from the glove facet of Campbell. The goaltender got here throughout for the save.
There was some concern as he appeared to favor the identical leg that stored him out of the lineup for a number of stretches this season. And that concern is warranted because the group continues to handle the goaltender’s well being. Campbell completed the sport, though it is one thing to regulate.
But it surely’s clear his teammates are thrilled to be enjoying in entrance of a goaltender who has, at occasions, snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat.
“Hockey is about confidence and I feel he offers us confidence proper now,” Jason Spezza stated. “We’re making an attempt to provide him confidence by protecting issues to the skin and (he is) only a man that is actually benefitting getting just a little momentum right here.”
Spezza scored the one purpose within the shootout, Toronto’s first of the season.
Not like the group’s first recreation within the two-game set, the Leafs bought off to a sluggish begin in opposition to the Jets, who had 17 scoring probabilities within the opening interval in comparison with seven from Toronto.
“They’d a whole lot of alternatives, if it wasn’t for Soup, we might be down early within the recreation,” Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin stated. “Each goalies had some massive saves they usually stored everybody in it right here.”
Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott finally opened the scoring at 5:16 of the second interval. His shot from the purpose went by means of a sea of humanity earlier than the puck sailed previous Connor Hellebuyck.
Winnipeg’s lone purpose got here off a 2-on-1 that Copp cashed in on at 11:50.
From there, each goaltenders dueled and it is in these video games the place Campbell’s recreation went to a distinct degree.
In two consecutive video games in opposition to the defending Vezina Trophy winner, Campbell outperformed Hellebuyck.
There isn’t a higher measuring stick than that.
“When he has that steadiness and that calmness, he simply calms everybody down,” Marner stated of Campbell. “I feel we relied on him a bit an excessive amount of, however I imply, he was unbelievable in each these video games and that is a giant purpose why we received each.”
After all, it wasn’t all the time this manner for Campbell.
The eleventh total decide from the 2010 NHL Draft took an extended highway to get right here. Throughout his time with the Dallas Stars group, he struggled with confidence issues. In 2015, Campbell and Hellebucyk have been teammates once they each represented Crew USA on the IIHF World Hockey Championships within the Czech Republic.
“Once I was struggling early in my profession, he was all the time proper there texting me and form of coached me just a little bit,” Campbell stated of Hellebuyck. “He is all the time been there so I recognize his friendship a lot.”
Hellebucyk was equally thrilled for his Campbell, despite the fact that it got here at his expense. His feedback additionally mirrored how totally different this season is.
After video games, you’d usually see gamers from opposing groups mingling earlier than boarding the group bus or going dwelling. With COVID-19 protocols in full impact, lots of the human interactions have been taken away.
You understand, I want I may say hello to him after the sport or discuss to him extra after the sport as a result of he is such an amazing man on and off the ice,” Hellebuyck stated of Campbell. “I feel a superb rivalry is going on and I am excited to see the success he is having.”
Campbell’s eight straight victories put him one again of tying the Leafs’ document of 9 held by Felix Potvin, Jacques Plante and John Ross Roach.
So long as the damage points may be managed (and that is nonetheless a giant if), Campbell is the man.
There is no debate. He is the group’s beginning goaltender till his efficiency dictates in any other case.
“You may simply see his confidence rising and you’ll see the group’s confidence in him rising as nicely,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe stated. “He was enjoying in a recreation tonight with nearly no room for error and he was there on all of the breakdowns we had in the present day, which I believed we had too many.”