The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Calgary Flames in overtime by a score of 2-1. Once again, the Maple Leafs hung in there and, almost in the last minute of the third period – well, with about seven minutes – Ondrej Kase was able to tip in a William Nylander shot to tie the game.
Actually, it looked as if Nylander had scored the goal at first but later it was awarded to Kase on the tip-in. Then in overtime goalie Jack Campbell stood tall and shut the door on the Flames in an acrobatic personal scramble in front of the Maple Leafs’ net where he stopped what looked like a couple of sure goals.
Then, in the ensuing moments, Auston Matthews went around the Flames’ defense until he broke in alone and put one through the goalie’s five-hole for the win. In this post, I’ll share three takeaways from the game last night.
Takeaway One: Jack Campbell Just Doesn’t Stop Stopping Pucks
Earlier in the season, I know that some fans were worried about Jack Campbell holding up as the starting Maple Leafs’ goalie. I doubt most feel the same way.
In last night’s tightly-fought game, Campbell came through yet again by stopping all but one of the 31 shots the Flames threw on the net. The result was that his team was able to hang around and put together a last-period push on and to eventually pull out a 2-1 overtime win against Calgary.
Even the goal that beat Campbell was a beauty scored by smooth-skating defenseman Oliver Kylington early during the second period. Otherwise, Campbell let nothing by him. The former Los Angeles Kings and even Maple Leafs’ backup made great saves throughout the game (as did his goalie opponent with the Flames).
Then, during the third period after his team scored, Campbell hung on to allow his team to force overtime. Then, he hung on harder to allow his teammates to put one past the almost equally-proficient Dan Vlader in goal.
It goes without saying that Campbell’s played well. He’s won six of his last seven starts and has pushed his 2021-22 season record to a strong 8-3-1. Even better is his goals-against-average of 1.82 with a save percentage of .939.
Takeaway Two: Auston Matthews Can Still Score
Auston Matthews hasn’t been scoring up to his usual pace this season; however, that doesn’t mean he can’t score. He put in the winning goal in Friday’s overtime 2-1 win. During the overtime, after Campbell made some really tough stops, Matthews skated the puck from one end of the ice to the other and threw a seeing-eye wrister past Vlader for the win.
The goal was sweet revenge for Matthews who was stopped all night by Vladar’s great play. Matthews, who was on his game all night, might have scored a few more goals but for the consistent saves of the Flames’ young goalie. Matthews, who’s been playing well but not really assaulting the goalie’s territory like he’s been known to do, was all over the ice tonight.
Matthews was asked to carry a heavy load by Maple Leafs’ coach Sheldon Keefe and responded by logging almost 25 minutes of ice time on the evening – including overtime. The 24-year-old Matthews has scored three goals and five points during his last four games and now has totaled six goals and five assists (for 11 points) on the season.
Takeaway Three: The Overtime Win Loosens the Reins on the Goalie Situation
I’m unsure what coach Keefe’s plans were had his team not won the game. Who would have started in goal during tomorrow’s second night of a back-to-back against the Buffalo Sabres, who beat the high-flying Edmonton Oilers on home ice?
However, the win might have allowed more flexibility in the Maple Leafs’ thinking. The announcement after the game was that Campbell would rest tomorrow. In his place, young goalie Joseph Woll would start against the Sabres.
It will be Woll’s NHL debut. The 23-year-old Woll was a third-round draft pick (62nd overall) of the Maple Leafs during the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. That for me will make it a fun game to watch.
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