Sheldon Keefe makes a shocking goaltending decision for Thursday's game in Tampa

Published April 21, 2022 at 12:40
BY MIKE ARMENTI
With the Leafs in Tampa on Thursday to take on a very tough Atlantic Division rival Lightning team who is chasing them in the standings, it appeared likely that the Buds would opt to start the red hot Jack Campbell, who has won his last 6 starts. However, Sheldon Keefe has opted to go a different route.

Per The Leafs Nation's David Alter, 25-year-old rookie Erik Kallgren was manning the road net at the Leafs' morning skate on Thursday, indicating that he is in line to get the start against the defending Stanley Cup champs.

Honestly, I really like the move. Not only does it give Campbell an extra couple of days of rest before a very tough matchup with the Florida Panthers on Saturday, but it also gives Kallgren a chance to get into a game against a very dangerous Tampa Bay Lightning team in a very important game. The fact that Keefe has decided to give Kallgren the nod should serve as proof that the Leafs have a lot of confidence in the young netminder.

Kallgren has appeared in 11 games for the Leafs this season and had a very strong start, stopping 10 of 11 shots in his first NHL appearance in relief of Petr Mrazek back on March 10th. He followed that up with a 35-save shutout against the Dallas Stars in his first career NHL start on March 15th and used that momentum to pick up the win against a very game Carolina Hurricanes squad just two nights later, posting 34 saves and a .944 SV% in the contest.


Since then, Kallgren has cooled off and has faced his fair share of adversity, posting sub- .900 save percentages over 7 of his last 8 appearances. A strong showing against the Bolts in Tampa should do wonders for his confidence.

It would not be surprising in the least to see Campbell and Kallgren split the last 4 games of the season after tonight at 2 apiece - though I'd fully anticipate Campbell drawing in for the final game of the season against the Bruins.

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