OTTAWA – Jack Campbell hasn’t been with the Toronto Maple Leafs for very long, but he’s already made an impact.
Campbell stopped 24 shots in a 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night to improve his record to 3-0-1 since being acquired Feb. 5. With the Leafs trying to hold on to their playoff spot, every point counts and Campbell — who his teammates affectionately call Soupy — wants to be a part of Toronto’s winning equation.
“Soupy was great for us. He made some huge saves,” said Auston Matthews, who also scored for the Leafs. “I mean, you see him in there and he’s having so much fun. He just loves to compete and loves to battle for the guys, he came up with some big saves and obviously a big two points for us to pull out.”
Jake Muzzin, William Nylander and Mitch Marner scored for the Leafs (31-20-8), who put space between them and Florida in the Atlantic Division after the Panthers lost to Edmonton 4-1 earlier in the day.
Nylander’s goal chased Senators starter Marcus Hogberg from net in the second period.
“Soupy played a good game for us today. I thought our team played a good hockey game,” said Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe. “I thought we had a really good second period, they pull the goaltender, it changes momentum a little bit and I didn’t like how we responded for that final segment in the second period.”
Connor Brown and Cody Goloubef scored for the Senators (19-28-11), who are now 1-5-2 in their last eight games. Hogberg was pulled after giving up three goals on 16 shots. Craig Anderson stopped all 14 shots he faced in relief for the Senators.
“I don’t think it’s on (Hogberg) at all,” said Senators coach D.J. Smith. “I just think pucks found their way in and a couple bad bounces. I just thought it was time to change the momentum for us, more than it was a pull because he didn’t have it going.”
While Toronto games have always brought a number of Leafs fans to Canadian Tire Centre, on this night it was hard to find a Senators jersey through entire sections of the building. The 18,544 on hand was the biggest crowd of the season.
“It is what it is,” said Brown. “Obviously a lot of blue and white fans, but we kind of fed off it and it was nice to see the building full and it was a fun environment to play in.”
The Senators average just 12,050 fans a game for the lowest average attendance in the league leaving players with few opportunities to play in front of a packed house.
“The energy in the building definitely helps as far as getting up for the game or having that extra juice in your system,” said Anderson. “It’s unfortunate there’s so many Leafs fans, but we’ll take the full building and use that energy and I thought we did a great job towards the end pushing back and giving it our all at the end.”
Trailing 3-1 the Senators made it a one-goal game midway through the third as Goloubef scored his first of the season. It was the 30-year-old’s first goal since Nov. 17, 2015.
Goloubef has been in and out of the lineup this season, this was just his 21st game, and getting the opportunity to contribute in a big game was rewarding.
“It had been a while,” admitted Goloubef. “It feels good. You just do what you can to try and get the guys back into it and it got us back within one. It felt good.”
Marner sealed the win with an empty-net goal with just over one minute remaining in regulation. He flipped the puck into the net from deep within his own zone, launching it over the Senators defence.
Nylander’s goal was his 26th of the season, tying his father Michael’s career best with the 2006-2007 New York Rangers.
“I have a way better shot than what he had so I should be getting a couple more than him,” Nylander said with a grin
Notes: With Mark Borowiecki sidelined with an ankle injury Thomas Chabot was given the “A”. Mikkel Boedker was the lone healthy scratch for the Senators. Toronto cancelled practice on Friday because of a flu bug making its way through the team.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 15, 2020.