By J. Warner
Goaltender Jack Campbell is on the verge of making some franchise history with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who open a two-game set against the host Calgary Flames on Sunday night.
Campbell has been the winning goaltender in all eight of his starts this season, most recently Friday night when he stopped 31 shots as the Maple Leafs (24-10-3) defeated the host Winnipeg Jets 2-1 in a shootout.
Campbell tied George Hainsworth (1934) for the second-most wins by a Maple Leafs goaltender to start a season, one short of the team record set by Felix Potvin (1993).
“We definitely could have given him a little more help (Friday) but he stole the show like he always seems to do,” said Travis Dermott, who scored a goal on Friday. “He’s helping us out a lot more than we can ask for so far and hopefully he can keep it going.”
Campbell added: “The team’s winning, I’m trying to keep it going. I’m just executing the game plan. (assistant coach) Steve Briere is making it easy for me, mentally and physically.”
The most consecutive wins at any time in a season by a Maple Leafs goaltender also is nine, a record Potvin shares with Jacques Plante (1970-71) and John Ross Roach (1925). Turk Broda also won eight straight (1940).
Campbell has taken over as No. 1 goaltender while Frederik Andersen remains sidelined with a lower-body injury.
“You can see his confidence growing and you can see the team’s confidence in him growing as well,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “It’s just terrific. He’s playing in a game (Friday) with virtually no room for error and he was there on all the breakdowns we had, which I thought we had too many of. He was really good.”
The Flames (16-19-3), meanwhile, lost 3-2 to the host Edmonton Oilers Friday night. Connor McDavid scored the winning goal on a third-period power play.
“This has happened to us a couple times against these guys, in this rink — it’s an even game, and they score late,” said Matthew Tkachuk, who scored a goal for Calgary. “And they come out of here with two, and we come out of here with absolutely nothing.”
The Flames are 2-5-0 this season against Edmonton and 2-3-1 against Toronto.
Sean Monahan has gone 10 straight games without a goal for Calgary. He also had a 12-game drought Jan. 26-Feb. 17. He has seven goals in 36 games after having 22 last season and a career-high 34 in 2018-19.
“Sometimes, it just takes one to go in,” Monahan said. “You have to work hard for your chances. You have to work hard to score goals. Scoring goals in this league isn’t easy, so you have to get around the net and you have to find ways to put the puck in the net. When you get your chances, you have to capitalize.”
The Maple Leafs had one power play with no success Friday night. The power play is in a 0-for-27 drought.
“We’ll continue to talk about it internally, but really think we’ve just got to let it breathe a little bit here as tough as it is because it’s been piling up,” Keefe said. “We believe in our guys and we believe it will turn. We’ve just got to stay with it and not overthink it.”
The teams play again on Monday.
–Field Level Media