That was definitely the case with the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Sunday. Toronto won an ugly game where all of three of their goals (from Jake Muzzin, Wayne Simmonds and Auston Matthews) should be filed in the weird category.
Muzzin’s shot from just inside the blueline found it’s way over the left shoulder of Calgary goaltender Jacob Markstrom to give the Leafs a first period lead, Simmonds re-established the Toronto lead late in the second by banking a pass off his own skate for his first goal in Blue and White, and Matthews game-winner deflected off his skate and Flames blueliner Rasmus Andersson.
The Leafs received a good performance from backup Jack Campbell, who was the surprise starter in the first of the four-game swing through Alberta. Campbell faced 33 shots on the night and battled through significant discomfort in the final minutes of regulation after tweaking his left leg.
“(Campbell) was huge. You don’t get through ugly games like this with a win without your goaltender being your best player. He was that today. He gave our guys great confidence, maybe too much confidence at times, but he was outstanding.” Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said after the game. “He got a little bit of attention there and obviously it happened late in the game, so I think he’s feeling the effects of that a little bit, but he was able to shake it off and get
through the remainder of the game.”
While the lion’s share of starts will continue to go to Frederik Andersen, Campbell’s performance in wins over Ottawa and Calgary should provide more confidence to Keefe that he can give Andersen adequate rest in a compacted schedule and use Campbell more.
Toronto will take on the Flames in the rematch on Tuesday before moving onto Edmonton for a pair on Thursday and Saturday.
In the wake of comments from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman over the weekend regarding Toronto looking for forward help with the long-term injuries to Joe Thornton and Nick Robertson, the appearance on the Monday waiver wire of former Leaf Tyler Ennis may be something that intrigues GM Kyle Dubas.
Ennis had a bounce-back season with the Leafs two years ago after being bought out by Minnesota (12 goals in 51 games) and was loved in the Toronto locker room. The 31-year-old signed with Ottawa in free agency last season and was traded to Edmonton at the deadline, scoring 37 points (16 goals, 21 assists) in 70 games.
He re-signed with his hometown Oilers for one-year, $1 million last October, but is scoreless and -4 in four games this season. The Leafs have some flexibility with players like Pierre Engvall, Adam Brooks, Alexander Barabanov and Travis Boyd able to be moved to the taxi squad without waivers and Thornton and Robertson on LTIR, but it is unknown whether Ennis will attract attention from teams higher in the claim order than Toronto.
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