Jack Campbells Streak Over as Toronto Maple Leafs Fall to Habs

Nicholas Robertson, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Nicholas Robertson, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs seemed to forget that they had a game last night, as a horrible first period cost them two points in a 4-2 loss to the Habs.

The trade deadline had just ended only hours earlier and Kyle Dubas did a masterful job to fortify his belief in this team.  This is an emotional time for players, and you could tell the Toronto Maple Leafs just didn’t have their heads in the game for the first 20 minutes.

The Habs jumped out to a 2-0 lead by dominating the Leafs in the opening frame.  It wasn’t so much that the Habs were good, it was more that the Leafs were bad.  Turnovers, penalties, and a shaky Campbell all combined for an uncharacteristic poor start for the blue team.

The Leafs got their game together in the 2nd period and for the first half of the 3rd, but Montreal pulled it out in the end.  30 minutes of good hockey isn’t enough to win in the NHL.  Even Campbell couldn’t help them in this one as his streak of 11 straight wins was snapped.  Campbell didn’t look as comfortable and confident as he normally does, you could say that about the entire team tonight, but he did make a few quality stops in the 3rd.  The team just didn’t have it in this one.

Toronto Maple Leafs Game Notes

The PP faltered again, and is now 1-36.  They just look uncomfortable at this point.  They seem rushed, hesitant, and the movement in the offensive zone that we got accustomed to seeing just isn’t there.  I have no doubt this will get fixed at some point, but it kind of needs to be sooner rather than later.  They are going to need their PP in the playoffs.

Alex Galchenyuk continues to impress.  I liked him with Matthews and Marner in this game.  He is noticeable in all 200 ft of ice during his shifts.  He was one of the bright spots in the game.

The Mikheyev/Tavares/Hyman line is good.  Tavares just fits really well with a couple of worker bees on his wings.  I’m not sure there is enough here to be worth juggling some lines when Nylander returns, but with the addition of Foligno, don’t be surprised if Keefe gets creative and puts multiple looks out there in the next 10 games.

Pierre Engvall played a total of 6:34 in the game.  I didn’t notice him get hurt in any way, so it must have been a coaching decision.  I didn’t really notice Engvall at all in the game, even with that low usage, I guess Keefe was sending him a message of some kind.

A crazy Set of Stats

The Leafs were 9-0-1 in their last 10 games with a PP that was running at a 3% success rate while giving up 3 short-handed goals in that span.  That’s a -2 goal differential on the PP in a 10 game set.  That’s NUTS.  The fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t lose a game in regulation during that same stretch is BONKERS.  How was this possible?  Campbell and Hutchinson combined for a .924 SV% and the PK was one of the best in the league at 90%.

 Austin Matthews now has 8 goals during a 5-game point streak.  He has scored 7 of the last 14 Leaf goals.  He has 16 goals in 20 games vs. Montreal.  Matthews currently leads the league with 32 goals in 39 games (Mikko Rantanen is second with 25 goals in 42 games).  This guy has played most of this season with an injured wrist, but there were 9 games in particular where it really bothered him and coincided with the “slump” that Matthews experienced after the he missed two games.  He has 29 goals in 30 games when healthy this year.  Yikes.

Robertson Gets a Look

He played sporadically, had really short shifts, and only saw 8:11 of ice time.  Some of the limited usage was due to the Leafs chasing the game and not so much about his play.  Either way, It’s not much to go on and it’s basically his first NHL game this year.  He was injured just 2 minutes in the last time he got a shot, so this really was his first game with the Leafs this year.

I took notes on his shifts during the game and it was mostly uneventful.  There were a few positives though.  His stride looked good.  It was more powerful than the last time I saw him and he seemed to have a little better top speed.  This was an area of development that he needed to work on so that’s a really good sign.  He had a nice release on his only shot but we already know he has an elite shot, so that is to be expected.

One play in particular illustrates the additional value that he is able to bring to the Toronto Maple Leafs when given an opportunity.  He got crunched during a shift in the 3rd period.  On his very next shift, he challenges Shea Weber for a puck in the corner and initiates contact for the battle.  That showed some guts.  Roberston has a high compete level and can be tenacious on the puck, and he did show that in his limited usage last night.

He committed a couple turnovers, one was at the offensive blue line, and Keefe seemed to shelter him a little bit after that, but that is just a young player that needs more professional time.  He also made a nice defensive play down low to create a good zone exit in the 1st period.  Overall, fairly low-event shifts, but you see the potential he has to get more minutes.  It will take time for Keefe to trust him.  He might not be ready yet.

Next. Leafs Top Ten Prospects. dark

Bring on the Flames.  These guys need to rebound quickly and get the mojo back.

Go Leafs!