Michael Hutchinson set to start for Leafs vs. unbeaten Sharks

National Sports

Goalie Michael Hutchinson, just up from the AHL, will make his first start of the season Friday for the Toronto Maple Leafs when they oppose the visiting San Jose Sharks.

No. 1 goaltender Jack Campbell will start Saturday night when the Maple Leafs visit the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“There were two things,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said Thursday. “Trying to get Hutchinson in a position where he can succeed, we thought going from a practice day into a game day would do that.

“On the Campbell front, we’re just managing his workload a little bit better. A day off for him yesterday, hard practice today, we just thought it made sense.”

Friday is a nonconference game, so the points mean more against the Penguins, who are with the Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference.

Hutchinson had a good preseason, but Petr Mrazek was signed to be Campbell’s backup. Mrazek sustained a groin injury last week against the Ottawa Senators, prompting Hutchinson to be recalled from the AHL Toronto Marlies.

Sharks coach Bob Boughner said Adin Hill will be in goal on Friday. James Reimer made 30 saves on Thursday in San Jose’s 2-1 road victory over the Ottawa Senators.

Kevin Labanc’s second-period, power-play goal proved to be the game-winner. Logan Couture also scored.

“We didn’t have our best legs; we didn’t have our best stuff,” Couture said. “We turned too many pucks over throughout the game. (Reimer) made some big saves, especially early in the third.”

Hill recorded 21 saves against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday to earn his fourth career shutout. He improved to 2-0-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage this season. Boughner felt Hill could use some rest after starting two games in four days.

“They both deserve (to play). Reimer had a great camp as well,” Boughner said. “To come back with Hill on Friday just makes more sense from an energy and rest standpoint.”

The Maple Leafs had Auston Matthews back in the lineup Monday for the 2-1 overtime loss to the visiting New York Rangers. Matthews had eight shots on goal, two in overtime, and came close to scoring. He missed the first three games as part of his recovery from wrist surgery.

Mitchell Marner, who usually plays on a line with Matthews, is off to a slow start with no goals and one assist in four games.

“I think he’s feeling good, and I think he’s done a lot of good things,” Keefe said. “He and Auston picked up where they left off (on Monday). Obviously, it didn’t go in for them, but I think the chemistry they have is there.

“With Mitch, there’s an attention to production. He was one of the top scorers in the league last season, and he’s consistently been that, too. He also does a lot of good things for us without the puck. I’m not worried about the offensive side; it’s going to come.”

The Sharks have won the first two games of a five-game trip and are 3-0-0 overall, their best start since the 2015-16 season, when they won their first four.

Alexander Barabanov, Jonah Gadjovich and Santeri Hatakka did not play for San Jose on Thursday.

“There’s a lot of hockey left on this road trip, and everyone’s going to get a chance at some point,” Boughner said. “The guys that are in are the guys that deserve to be in. They’re playing well.”

–Field Level Media

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