‘I give it to you straight.’ Campbell knows he’s been struggling, vows to turn it around for the Leafs
WASHINGTON You don’t have to tell Jack Campbell how bad he was Saturday night in Detroit, or that he’s been struggling to keep the puck out of the net lately.
The Maple Leafs goalie already knows.
“You know me, I give it to you straight,” Campbell said Tuesday, in his first media appearance since Toronto’s 10-7 win Saturday. “For me, it was just not up to my standard. There’s a little stretch lately that hasn’t been up to my standard.
“Thankfully I have amazing teammates and coaches and people in my life to help me just chill out a little bit and move on. Just excited it’s a new day and just moving past it.”
It was probably Campbell’s worst night as a Leaf. The Leafs were sailing, up 7-2 through 40 minutes. But he allowed three quick Detroit goals to give the Wings life to start the third. He was pulled in the third period, replaced by Petr Mrázek.
The only saving grace for the Leafs was that Detroit’s goaltending was even worse. In fact, according to moneypuck.com with 17 goals on 4.8 expected goals — a measure of the strength of the scoring chances — it was the worst goaltending since the NHL’s “event tracking” started in 2007. The previous worst was 17 goals on 8.7 expected goals between Philadelphia and Winnipeg in 2011.
More troubling for the Leafs are Campbell’s numbers since Jan. 1. He’s 3-2-1 with an .894 save percentage and 3.42 goals-against average. That save mark rates him 18th among the 34 goalies who have played at least five games in 2022. Mrázek, by the way, was 20th heading into Monday night against the Capitals (3-2-0, .880, 3.28.).
Captain John Tavares says the team has faith in both goalies, despite what happened Saturday.
“They’ve bailed us out so many times this year. It was our turn to help them out, said Tavares. “You know, 99 per cent of the games, those two guys give us a great chance to win. So just flush it, get back to work, trust who they are.”
Campbell’s numbers are remarkable different from the start of the season, when they were the best in the league and got him named to the all-star game (18-3-4, .943, 1.72). He says he’ll turn it around.
“I’m the same goalie I was to start the year as far as strategy and talent and things like that,” said Campbell. “Just gotta relax and have some fun and not beat myself up too much. So I’m still working (through it). It’s a process. I have great people in my life, great teammates, and I’ll snap out of it.
The slide in play has the Leafs now involved in every trade rumour regarding a goalie. They recently picked up veteran Carter Hutton from Arizona as insurance.
Campbell had never played more than 31 games in a year in the NHL (2018-19 with Los Angeles) until this season. He’s at 38 and counting now with Leafs.
“It’s really my first full year as the No. 1,” said Campbell, who then corrected himself. “Playing a lot, I should say.
“I’m just trying to learn and get better each day. There’s going to be a little bit of a tough stretch here and there. A lot of great goalies have had tough stretches. It’s about how you overcome it. And that’s what I’m focused on.”