There are always two sides to a story. On the bright side for the Vancouver Canucks, the team came out of a horrible fight with COVID-19 and beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in two straight games. How impossible was that? As Elliotte Friedman notes in the video below, the Canucks were the biggest betting underdog in 15 seasons in the NHL.
But they won.
On the Other Side of the Story, The Maple Leafs Goaltending
But the other side of this story is the poor play of the Maple Leafs’ goalies. In the video below, the Hockey Central Panel discusses both the huge Canucks’ victories coming away from a horrible time after their COVID outbreak. They handed the Maple Leafs the team’s fifth-straight loss. That still leaves the Maple Leafs in first place – barely – in the North Division; however, it does gives rise to some serious concerns about the team’s strength in net.
To cut to the quick, the Maple Leafs desperately need to find some stability in goal.
The Hockey Central Panel Breaks Down the Two Canucks’ Wins and the Maple Leafs’ Needs in Net
In the video below, the Hockey Central Panel breaks down the Maple Leafs’ goalie play and situation and also discusses the Canucks’ two victories. In this post, I’ll concentrate on the aspect of the Maple Leafs’ goalie play.
The Maple Leafs Outplayed the Canucks, But the Canucks Still Won
Although the Canucks won those two games, they were outplayed in both by the Maple Leafs. However, Canucks’ goaltender Braden Holtby badly outplayed both Maple Leafs’ goalies – Jack Campbell in game one and David Rittich in game two.
Against Rittich in game two, the Canucks took nine shots on net and four goals found their way through the embattled Rittich (one was into an empty net).
As the panel noted, Rittich “had a bad night. There’s no sugar-coating it.” The panel added that, the poor result of this game was because “there were a couple goals here that he’s (Rittich) going to look at he’s going to say, ‘I need to have them back.’”
What’s the Frederik Andersen Situation?
For a long while, Campbell was on his record-setting run and Frederik Anderson was hurt. The panel noted that they “think people are going to start to look and say: “OK, what’s Anderson situation here?’”
However, the panel noted that – although “the word is that he’s getting better – he’s getting closer, but there’s also the salary cap issue of whether or not they’re going to be able to activate him.” However, as the panel noted, “all of a sudden … Anderson’s potential return is looming larger because they need some stability in goal. They’re not getting it right now.”
The Maple Leafs Face the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday
For the Maple Leafs, there’s a much different story unfolding after the team’s two losses to the Canucks. Now the team heads off to Winnipeg where they play a two-game series against the Jets on Thursday and Saturday.
The team is once again looking for answers after their fifth straight loss. And, those answers start with their goalies. The news is that Campbell will get the start on Thursday against the Jets. It’s certainly his turn after Rittich let in five goals in the 6-3 loss to the Canucks.
After starting the season with a record-breaking 11 straight wins, Campbell’s record in April is 4-2-1 record with a goals-against-average of 3.19 and a save percentage of .890 in those seven games. The Jets have one of the strongest offensive teams in the entire NHL. They will certainly present a difficult test for the 29-year-old goalie.
Still, someone in the Maple Leafs’ net has to get the job done. And that task falls on Campbell: it’s certainly his turn to get back on the winning track.
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