Today on Toronto 1050 Sports Radio, the OverDrive guys hosted Bruce Boudreau the longtime NHL Head Coach and now NHL Network Analyst. During his interview, Boudreau talked about the upcoming playoff series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. One thing he touched upon was the Maple Leafs’ goalie situation heading into the playoffs and the tandem of Jack Campbell and Frederik Andersen.
Jack Campbell Is Facing Pressure in this Series
During the interview, the conversation came around to Maple Leafs’ new starting goalie Campbell and the nature of the pressure Campbell might feel headed into the playoffs without any postseason experience. The panel noted that, of all the goalies entering the postseason, Campbell might have the most pressure of any goalie from the North Division. Certainly, Campbell might be carrying the highest expectations.
However, as Boudreau noted, Campbell is far from alone on the team. He has help in Andersen. This season, although the order of the starter and the backup goalies are reversed, Andersen has had experience being a playoff backup goalie with Boudreau as his coach and that experience turned out well. The message to Maple Leafs fans is that – should Campbell falter in the crease – there is an able backup goalie in Andersen.
Campbell Deserves the Start, But He Has Able Backup in Andersen
Campbell’s the team’s starter and deserves to get the chance for the season he’s had and his contribution to the Maple Leafs’ success. However, if the pressure gets to him or if his inexperience shows up, Andersen is a guy the team could go to if things fall apart. Boudreau noted that the coach would likely play it game-by-game and not get too far ahead of himself.
And, right now, Campbell is the guy; and, if he plays well the team is not going to pull him. When Boudreau was asked if he’s ever faced that situation before where a goalie didn’t play well, he related the story of being the head coach of the Anaheim Ducks and going into the 2016 playoff series against the Nashville Predators. He had to try to decide on John Gibson or Andersen as the team’s starting goalie.
Andersen Came in Relief and Won Three Games in a Row
Boudreau chose Gibson. However, after Gibson lost the first two games against the Nashville Predators, he switched right away to Andersen. Andersen promptly won the next three games of the series and even had a shutout during the first game. [Note: what Boudreau failed to tell the panel was the the Predators came back to take the last two games of the series with Andersen in goal. The games were close and Andersen played well, but Nashville eventually beat Anaheim four games to three.]
Key Point in this Post
The key takeaway in this post is that the Maple Leafs’ Andersen’s has had playoff backup experience before and it’s turned out well for him and his team. If Campbell falters, Andersen’s there. This is perhaps the best goalie tandem the Maple Leafs have had heading into the playoffs in several seasons.
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