Toronto Maple Leafs: Should Frederik Andersen Start Game 4?

Frederik Andersen #31 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Frederik Andersen #31 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs will play a rare back-to-back playoff game against the Montreal Canadiens tonight, which will spark a debate on who should start in net.

For the first time in forever, the Toronto Maple Leafs have two legitimate starting goalies. Heading into the season, Frederik Andersen was the clear-cut number-one. However, after mediocre play and multiple injuries, Jack Campbell has now emerged as the starting goalie.

This isn’t a new situation for Andersen. During his time with the Anaheim Ducks, Andersen was the back-up for John Gibson and was actually called upon to play multiple games in the playoffs after Gibson faltered.

During the 2015-16 playoffs, Andersen came into relief for Gibson and never allowed more than two goals in five games played. His team ultimately lost the series he joined, but it wasn’t because of his performance.

We’re five years removed from Andersen being brilliant in the playoffs, but the talent is still there. Sure, Andersen has struggled during the season and has fallen in big games with the Leafs before, but he’s still a very good goaltender.

Since the Leafs are playing a back-to-back tonight, should Andersen actually start?

Toronto Maple Leafs Should Not Start Andersen

Whenever there’s a back-to-back in the regular season, it’s rare to see the same goalie play both games. Even if it’s a big game, the analytics say that starting the same goalie back-to-back nights is a terrible decision.

However, when it comes to the playoffs, analytics need to get thrown out the window.

Jack Campbell has continued to take “maintenance days” after game-days and has been fighting through injuries all season. You’d think it would make sense to give him a night off and start the veteran instead, right?


In three playoff games, Campbell has allowed four goals. In comparison, Andersen allowed four goals in his last start in the AHL, and then followed that up, by allowing four goals against the Ottawa Senators.

Although it’s possible that Andersen could step in and be the “Steady Freddie” we all remember, it’s not worth the risk. Campbell has shown too much stability over these last three games that he not only deserves the net, but is the Leafs best option to win.

Tonight’s game is the most important game of the series thus far. If Toronto wins, they can put a stranglehold on Montreal and head to Toronto with a chance to win the series on Thursday.

However, if Montreal wins, that’ll guarantee a game six, which means the Canadiens will get to play in front of fans once again, as they recently announced they plan on having 2,500 people in attendance for that game.

Although some people think that having minimal fans is irrelevant to the outcome, I personally think that it’s a huge advantage and it should be something that Toronto wants to avoid.

Players have continued to celebrate Campbell’s performance all season and it feels like they play with more confidence when he’s in net. Even after scoring the game-winning goal last night, Morgan Rielly had nothing but praise for his goalie, saying:

"“Here tonight, all the credit in the world has to go to Jack Campbell. He was an absolute warrior for us.” (via: Rosie DiManno, The Toronto Star)"

After seeing multiple comments like Rielly’s all season, It would be disrespectful to the players if they started Andersen over Campbell.

Next. Has Andersen Played His Last Game With the Leafs?. dark

Campbell gives the Toronto Maple Leafs the best chance to win, so in order for them to get one step closer to winning a playoff round for the first time since 2004, they need to start Campbell and only play Andersen, in case of emergency.