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Photo Credit: © Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Campbell looks to potentially take the starter’s reigns vs. Flames

Tonight may be the most important game of Jack Campbell’s career.

The Leafs go into tonight’s game against the Flames having lost six of their last seven, with five of them seeing Frederik Andersen play in net (although he didn’t start against Ottawa). This has come while the Leafs have a 54.58% 5v5 CF% and a 56.39% 5v5 xGF%, which is fifth and fourth in the league during that span. The Leafs are clearly losing games because of Frederik Andersen, and unlike past seasons where this has been the case, it hasn’t been backed up by otherwise good to elite goaltending.

Campbell hasn’t gotten the crease much in his Leafs tenure, but when he has, he’s impressed. He has a .920 save percentage in 9 games with the Leafs, and a .951 in 3 games this season. It’s an incredibly small sample size, but his .918 career save percentage has at least earned him the benefit of the doubt, especially with Freddie playing as poorly as he has. If he plays well, there’s a good chance he at least gets to split the starts, although there’s reason to believe that that was the plan all along.

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Of course, as I mentioned, we’re dealing with a very small sample size when talking about Campbell, so him being an improvement on Freddie is no guarantee. If not for play, then at least for durability, as Campbell hasn’t really seen a starter’s worth of games in his career, something that we at least know Fred can manage. But, if he doesn’t overtake Fred, then the least that can happen is that Campbell gives Fred some rest and he’s better prepared for a playoff run on a Leafs team poised to make a deep run.

Tonight may be one of the more important games of the Leafs season, or at least might be the biggest difference for their season.

Lineups

Toronto Maple Leafs

LW C RW Forwards
Joe Thornton
JOE THORNTON

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Rating: 72.3#74 LW

Auston Matthews
AUSTON MATTHEWS

Rating: 82.3#6 C

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Mitch Marner
MITCH MARNER

Rating: 76.6#18 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 77.06#8 FL1
Alex Galchenyuk
ALEX GALCHENYUK

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Rating: 70.8#115 LW

John Tavares
JOHN TAVARES

Rating: 77.6#15 C

William Nylander
WILLIAM NYLANDER

Rating: 76.1#23 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 74.83#10 FL2
Ilya Mikheyev
ILYA MIKHEYEV

Rating: 74.0#42 LW

Alexander Kerfoot
ALEXANDER KERFOOT

Rating: 70.8#113 C

Zach Hyman
ZACH HYMAN

Rating: 74.6#33 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 73.14#6 FL3
Wayne Simmonds
WAYNE SIMMONDS

Rating: 70.2#112 LW

Pierre Engvall
PIERRE ENGVALL

Rating: 71.0#98 C

Jason Spezza
JASON SPEZZA

Rating: 69.4#126 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 70.23#26 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Morgan Rielly
MORGAN RIELLY

Rating: 75.3#14 LD

T.J. Brodie
T.J. BRODIE

Rating: 74.2#27 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 74.76#16 DL1
Jake Muzzin
JAKE MUZZIN

Rating: 75.1#17 LD

Justin Holl
JUSTIN HOLL

Rating: 72.0#61 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 73.56#12 DL2
Travis Dermott
TRAVIS DERMOTT

Rating: 71.7#83 LD

Zach Bogosian
ZACH BOGOSIAN

Rating: 71.4#76 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 71.56#25 DL3

Calgary Flames

LW C RW Forwards
Matthew Tkachuk
MATTHEW TKACHUK

Rating: 78.0#9 LW

Elias Lindholm
ELIAS LINDHOLM

Rating: 76.5#19 C

Dillon Dube
DILLON DUBE

Rating: 70.3#108 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 74.95#18 FL1
Johnny Gaudreau
JOHNNY GAUDREAU

Rating: 76.0#19 LW

Sean Monahan
SEAN MONAHAN

Rating: 74.4#42 C

Brett Ritchie
BRETT RITCHIE
FL2 Rating
Rating: 73.23#19 FL2
Milan Lucic
MILAN LUCIC

Rating: 70.7#103 LW

Mikael Backlund
MIKAEL BACKLUND

Rating: 75.5#30 C

Andrew Mangiapane
ANDREW MANGIAPANE

Rating: 74.2#36 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 73.48#3 FL3
Sam Bennett
SAM BENNETT

Rating: 69.6#127 LW

Derek Ryan
DEREK RYAN

Rating: 72.0#83 C

Josh Leivo
JOSH LEIVO

Rating: 71.7#85 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 71.07#17 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Mark Giordano
MARK GIORDANO

Rating: 77.9#6 LD

Rasmus Andersson
RASMUS ANDERSSON

Rating: 73.5#36 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 75.67#9 DL1
Noah Hanifin
NOAH HANIFIN

Rating: 73.3#49 LD

Chris Tanev
CHRIS TANEV

Rating: 71.0#90 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 72.16#23 DL2
Juuso Valimaki
JUUSO VALIMAKI

Rating: 72.6#6 LD

Nikita Nesterov
NIKITA NESTEROV
DL3 Rating
Rating: 72.42#10 DL3

Tale of the Tape

via Mark Norman

Leafs Player to Watch: Alex Galchenyuk

Galchenyuk made his Leafs debut last night, and while he wasn’t a huge difference maker, he seemed to fit right in on that second line with Tavares and Nylander, so it’ll be interesting to see what he can bring to the table tonight now that he’s settled in.

Flames Player to Watch: Johnny Gaudreau

I seem to always hear Gaudreau involved in trade rumours, or hear that he’s struggling, which always intrigues me if it’s a media thing or if there’s some legitimacy to it. It’ll make him interesting to watch to see what kind of impact he makes, or lack thereof.

Leafs Starting Goalie: Jack Campbell

As I mentioned before, Campbell gets the crease tonight, and it’ll be an important one for him and the Leafs, as playing well could be the first step to being the starting goalie for the Leafs who are in desperate need of stability there this season and beyond.

Flames Starting Goalie: David Rittich

I’m sure the Leafs and Leafs fans are still dealing with nightmares after the last series they played against Rittich, so it not being Markstrom tonight won’t make it any easier for the Leafs. It’ll be interesting to see if that game was a PDO bender or if Rittich really does have the Leafs number tonight.

Puck Drop is at 7:00pm EST tonight on Sportsnet

* Lineups and Starting Goalies courtesy of Daily Faceoff