All eyes will be on Jack Campbell tonight as he makes his 2nd straight start for the first time this season. He enters the game a perfect 4-0, with a stellar 1.00GAA and 0.965SV%, to go along with two shutouts. In fact, he hasn’t allowed a goal since January, so we should expect the team to lay it all on the line to keep that streak going for the nicest guy in hockey.
This appears to be the best opportunity Campbell has had to wrestle away a starters position in the NHL and make it his own. Frederik Andersen will be sidelined for a few more days and has struggled this season. If Campbell can string a few solid starts together it could mean he’d earn the trust of head coach Sheldon Keefe and challenge Andersen for the #1 spot in Toronto.
This is unfamiliar territory for Andersen. Now in his 5th season in Toronto, he has seen a few backups come and go, but none that could challenge his reign as king of the crease. The most capable partner he had seen before Campbell would be Curtis McElhinney, but “McGoalie” was a veteran backup that knew his role. He supported Andersen, rather than challenge him. Since then there have been players such as Garrett Sparks and Michael Hutchinson, but they couldn’t manage to survive as backups, never mind challenge for the starters job.
The question now is, when Andersen does return, how does he respond? The hope is that he’ll raise his game to tighten his grasp on the crease, as that will only help the Leafs, but we shall see.
Here are your projected lines for tonight:
Alex Kerfoot is playing with two legends and he isn’t taking it for granted.
Let’s hope the line works. Coach Keefe has done a lot of line shuffling lately to try to find the right mix. They’ll play a Senators team tonight that always show up with a heightened effort level for the Battle of Ontario, so they’ll have to gel quickly if they want to stay on the right side of the puck tonight.
Enjoy the game.
GO LEAFS GO!!