NBCSN’s coverage of the 2020-21 NHL season continues with the Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs. Canadiens-Maple Leafs stream coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
Don’t try to credit Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell for his play this season, he’ll only defer to his teammates helping make the wins happen. But nine in a row with Campbell in net? It’s not just the skaters in front, that’s for sure.
Campbell and the Maple Leafs head into Wednesday Night Hockey matchup against Montreal looking for their fifth straight win and eighth victory in nine games. For Campbell, he’ll try to improve his record to 10-0-0 and tie Carey Price (2016-17) for the longest win streak from the start of an NHL season.
“You don’t get those wins without everybody pitching in,” Campbell said after Tuesday’s win over Winnipeg. “The record is a huge honor, but it’s just all about winning. That’s all that matters is winning, so that’s great.”
Campbell’s hockey journey has taken him some memorable highs — gold at the 2010 World Junior Championship with the U.S. — and some lows, which included a pair of stints in the ECHL after going 11th overall in the 2010 draft. He detailed his road in a great story by James Mirtle of The Athletic (sub. required) this week.
But the 29-year-old Campbell has found his footing in Toronto, and taken advantage of the injury that’s kept Frederik Andersen out since March 19.
Before Campbell got his shot, Sheldon Keefe turned to Michael Hutchinson to spell Andersen. It wasn’t until mid-March — when this streak really got going — that Campbell started consecutive games.
With each start Jack Campbell has earned the trust of the coaches and his teammates as the Maple Leafs continue their hold on the North Division lead. Through nine games he has a .950 5-on-5 save percentage and a 4.28 goals saved above average, per Natural Stat Trick. Though a much smaller sample size, that .950 is better than Andrei Vasilevskiy, Juuse Saros, Chris Driedger, and Alex Nedeljkovic.
“Stellar, as it has been the whole season,” said Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott of Campbell. “He’s turning into a guy that we’re relying upon a lot and he’s shown up every day so far.”
“He always does something amazing on the ice for our team,” said forward Mitch Marner.
The Maple Leafs already had high hopes this season, and it could have been dicey once Andersen went out. But Jack Campbell’s play has allowed confidence to grow throughout the team, as Keefe noted this week. It’s a total unit going out and winning games now. When one aspect is having a down night, the other is right there to support it.
“There’s nights when we really don’t have that skill, you’re not going to have it every night, but we play the right way, we find ways to win, and then other nights we’re just completely buzzing and our talent’s pretty impressive up front and on the back end,” Campbell said. “It’s just really fun to be a part of. We still have a lot of work to do. It’s a fun time, and we’re just going to try to keep getting better.”