The Leafs travelled to Calgary to take on the Flames Thursday night as the teams are now making up for their postponed games in December.
Since the two teams returned from their extended hiatus before Christmas they have been some of the hottest teams in the NHL. The Leafs have won 10 of their previous 13 games since the turn of the new year, with the Flames winners of 9 of 15 and currently on a 5 game win streak.
It was a physical affair all night with Calgary doubling up the Leafs in the hit department 18-7, the first period was a tightly contested affair that saw some good scoring chances for either team but will mostly be remembered for the Flames’ Nikita Zadorov delivering a hard, clean check to Leafs forward Ondrej Kase, taking him straight down the tunnel and out of the game immediately.
Kase is no stranger to injury, having missing significant time in prior seasons due to various issues, including concussion related symptoms.
The score remained tied at 0 until a wild sequence of events led Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom to have to make two desperation saves on John Tavares and William Nylander before the puck spat out to Rasmus Sandin to bury his second goal of the season a few minutes into the second period.
24 seconds later it was the Flames on the attack as Andrew Mangiapane scored his team leading 23rd goal of the season after a nice pass from Blake Coleman.
The Flames kept the pressure on the Leafs as they scored three more goals in the period including goals form defencemen Noah Hanifin and Oliver Kylington just 32 seconds apart and finally capping off their four goal second period with Elias Lindholm’s 17th on the year.
While the Leafs aren’t strangers to coming back from multi goal leads in recent games, the pressure they put on Markstrom all night was not enough as after Rasmus Andersson’s second goal of the season put the gap at 5-1, a late Michael Bunting goal wouldn’t be enough to get the Leafs back in the game.
At the end of the game it was a tale of two goaltenders. One one side Markstrom stopped 46 of 48 shots he faced, while Campbell seeing five fly past him on only 26 shots.
Campbell’s struggles recently have been well documented:
The All-Star’s stats have not been living up to his early season standards recently as in Campbell’s last eight starts he has allowed five or more goals in four of them, with him allowing at least three goals in another three of the eight games.
Campbell’s recent struggles have tanked his stats in what at one point would be considered Vezina numbers. Thanks to the offseason addition of Petr Mrazek it has helped steady some of the teams nerves but they will need Campbell to get back to his form of old if they want to have any chance of making it out of the first round of the playoffs this season.
With the result, Mitch Marner saw his eight game goal and point streak snapped. He put up 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) in that time.
The Leafs continue their west coast road trip with games in Vancouver on Saturday wrapping up with their first ever game against the Seattle Kraken. Calgary continues its 7 game homestead when they come up against the Islanders on Saturday.