National Hockey League

'GOT MORE AND MORE FUN': Maple Leafs learn to win the hard way in Calgary

Photo by Sergei Belski /USA TODAY Sports Before one puck even dropped in North Division play this year, Sunday was the kind of game Sheldon Keefe said the Maple Leafs must learn to survive.

In a 4-2 win, they stuck with the game plan, got the needed saves from Michael Hutchinson and, eventually, their blue-ribbon offence broke through, including Alex Galchenyuk’s first goal as a Leaf and Auston Matthews’ league-leading 25th.

Calgary is a club not playing catch-up, losing five of seven to Toronto to date in 2021, six back of Montreal for the last playoff spot with the Habs having five games in hand and the Vancouver Canucks still in COVID-19 limbo.

Hutchinson overcame a sluggish first period by himself and the team to make 32 saves and buy Jack Campbell an extra day’s rest for Monday’s conclusion of the series at the Saddledome.

His stick had broken in the slot on Toronto’s only power play of the night, another dud by the two units that extended their slump to 0-for-28 and the first time its been blanked in 10 straight games since 1998.

It’s hoped a rested Campbell is ready to attempt his ninth straight win Monday,which would tie a club record held by Felix Potvin and Jacques Plante, but Veini Vehvilainen backed up Sunday.

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