May 22, 2022

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Who would have thought that in 5 video games, Jack Campbell would beat Andrey Vasilevsky in a first-round playoff sequence in opposition to the Tampa Bay Lightning?

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Who would have thought that he would go together with him salvation after salvation?

This isn’t the best way he was speculated to shake issues up. This isn’t what anybody may count on. In the beginning of the sequence, it was Tampa Bay, not Toronto, that ought to have had the overwhelming benefit on the grid. The Lightning have been those who gained the Vezina Trophy, Playoff MVP, the man was just lately chosen by the NHLPA because the goaltender you need in your crew in a compulsory sport.

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As for Campbell, a month in the past he wasn’t even the form of man Maple Leafs followers wished within the playoffs.

Goaltending has lengthy been Toronto’s greatest difficulty, if not its Achilles’ heel, for a lot of the season. It has been so dangerous at occasions this yr that the crew got here near buying Marc-André Fleury on the commerce deadline. As a substitute, Fleury moved from Chicago to Minnesota, the place he conceded 15 targets in 5 video games.

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Coincidentally, that is the identical variety of targets Campbell conceded in 5 video games in opposition to Tampa Bay. The one distinction is that Fleury does not face punches from Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Braden Level each evening. Campbell was. And whereas he was removed from good, as evidenced by his 3.41 targets in opposition to common and .895 capturing share, he was barely higher than Vasilevsky on this sequence.

This, as they are saying, was not a goalkeeper duel with a stretch of the creativeness.

Vasilevsky not appears to be like just like the goaltender who gained the Conn Smythe Trophy a yr in the past after main the Lightning to back-to-back league titles. Thus far he hasn’t accomplished to Toronto what Carey Value, Tuukka Rask and even Jonas Korpisalo did in earlier seasons. Vasilevskiy was good in video games two and 4, however he conceded 17 targets in 5 video games, two fewer than he conceded within the final two rounds of final yr’s playoffs mixed.

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Twice he conceded 4 or extra targets. Three extra occasions he conceded three targets. However, Campbell was a bit of higher. He had three good begins and two dangerous ones. He didn’t steal video games and didn’t stand on his head. However he did not must both. Extra importantly, he wasn’t at fault like James Reimer or Frederik Andersen had been up to now.

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That is all you’ll be able to actually ask of your beginning playoff goaltender.

The Leafs did not really want Campbell to make a distinction. They did not want him to beat Vasilevsky. With Toronto on the offensive, they only wanted him to maintain Tampa Bay at three targets or much less, make the saves he wanted to make, and combat again when issues inevitably went awry.

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Thus far, he has answered the decision on this regard. If he can maintain going like this, he has an opportunity to do what no Toronto goalie has accomplished since Belfour: attain the second spherical of the playoffs.

In any case, we study quite a bit a couple of 30-year-old man.

That is what No is. 1 goalkeeper appears to be like. Is that this what you need. It does not at all times cease each shot. Generally it is extra essential to cease the bleeding.

Campbell conceded 5 targets within the 5–3 loss within the second sport. However he bounced again, making 32 saves in a 5-2 win in Sport 3.

In Sport 4, when he was pulled after permitting 5 targets on 16 pictures, Campbell was arguably Toronto’s worst participant. Two days later, he was arguably their finest participant in a 4-3 victory that may in any other case have been one other blowout.

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Having conceded two targets within the first six minutes of a pivotal Sport 5, it could have been straightforward if head coach Sheldon Keefe stated he’d seen sufficient and known as Campbell off. As a substitute, Keefe stored it inside. And Campbell paid him again by retaining his crew within the sport because the Leafs made an unlikely comeback.

It was a sport that would simply have gone in a special path.

Within the first interval, Tampa Bay performed a 5-on-3 energy play. They did not rating. They’d a 5-on-4 sport. They did not rating. They’d breakouts, occasional rushes and point-blank alternatives. If even one among them went inside, the sport may very well be over. Who is aware of, possibly the sequence could be the identical.

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“You look again and you’ll find fault with the little issues. It is normally a nasty signal once you’re 5 on 3 and you do not rating,” Stamkos stated. “I at all times say it is form of a rule. It wasn’t due to a scarcity of alternative, however it may freeze the sport and we did not.”

They did not execute as a result of Campbell would not allow them to. It wasn’t the 2 targets he conceded early within the sport. It was about not conceding two further targets when every part was prepared.

That is what a Stanley Cup-winning goaltender does. Here is what Keef says a “veteran goaltender” appears to be like like.

This exhibits that somebody is one victory away from renewing the contract.

That’s, if Toronto can nonetheless afford it.

mtraikos@postmedia.com

twitter.com/Michael_Trykos

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