After making 32 saves to help the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 2-1 series lead over Tampa Bay, netminder Jack Campbell said he is enjoying the battle with his Lightning counterpart Andrei Vasilevskiy.
(This article was originally published on 08.05.2022)
The Leafs, 10/27 to prevail from the best-of-seven series against the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions won game three 5-2 on Friday, bouncing back from a 5-3 defeat in game two on Wednesday.
Toronto (54-21-7) finished the regular season five points ahead of the Lightning (51-23-8) for second place in the Atlantic Division.
A late bloomer in the NHL, 30-year-old Campbell played a career-high 49 games (47 starts) in his third season with the Leafs posting 31 wins, a .914 save-percentage and 2.64 goals-against-average (GAA).
Due to a rib injury, Campbell was forced to miss ten games towards the end of the regular season, prompting concern over his readiness for play-offs.
So far, however, the American has managed to out-perform Vasilevskiy who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the play-offs last season.
Through the first three games of the first-round series, Vasilevskiy has allowed 11 goals on 100 shots (.890 save-percentage) while the inspired Campbell has allowed seven goals on 92 shots (.924 save-percentage).
Campbell said to the media: "I think it's human nature that, as an athlete, you want to be the best you can be. Obviously, 'Vasy' has proven how good he is over the course of his NHL career.
"So, it's a fun challenge and I'd be lying if I said I don't want to do my best to beat him."