Martin Jones getting his mind right before puck drop
Photo credit: Maple Leafs

Leafs confirm goaltender for tonight's tilt against the red hot Colorado Avalanche

Published January 13, 2024 at 11:38
BY MIKE ARMENTI

The Toronto Maple Leafs have collected at least a point in each game in 2024 thus far, but if it wasn't for an OT loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday, the Buds would be undefeated in the new year.

Sheldon Keefe slammed the special teams following the loss, calling the effort "rotten" and pointing out the fact that the mistakes on the PK, PP and at 3-on-3 in OT, ended up costing the team the two points. Now, against the Colorado Avalanche tonight, the Leafs have a chance to get right back on the horse, with another game tomorrow against the Detroit Red Wings.

Earlier this week, the team had recalled the struggling Ilya Samsonov after what Brad Treliving and Sheldon Keefe called a productive week with the Marlies and Hannu Toivonen. With Martin Jones giving up 4 goals in his last outing, some had pondered whether Samsonov would get the start tonight against Colorado to show that his struggles are behind him. However, that isn't the case.

After a day off yesterday as the Leafs traveled home from Long Island, the team took part in a full skate on Saturday morning and rather than Samsonov coming off early, he stayed out for extra work. Instead, Jones came off early, indicating that he'll go again for the Leafs tonight, marking his 7th consecutive start.



Jones' play this season has been tremendous and far beyond what anyone had expected from a 3rd string goaltender at the start of the year. Even after surrendering 4 goals against the Isles this week, Jones carries a 2.15 GAA and a .928 SV%.

We're coming up to a very important stretch here, as Joseph Woll has resumed light skating and work with the Leafs, though Curtis Sanford has been very careful with the movements he's allowing from the young netminder, who is working his way back from a high-ankle sprain.

The team needs to see where Samsonov is at, so it's a pretty good bet that we'll see him back in tomorrow against the Red Wings. If he plays well, it's likely that he'll get back into a game or 2 next week as Woll begins to ramp up his workload in anticipation of a return. If Samsonov still isn't quite up to where the team needs him to be, the Leafs won't have to waive him again to send him down, since he had just cleared waivers a couple of short weeks ago.

For now, this appears to be Jones' net and who can blame Sheldon Keefe for wanting to ride the hot hand? Jones has amassed an 8-3-1 record for the Leafs so far this season. Let's hope he can move to 9-3-1 tonight with a win over the visiting Avalanche, who are 8-1-1 in their last 10.
POLL
January 13   |   632 answers
Leafs confirm goaltender for tonight's tilt against the red hot Colorado Avalanche

What will happen when Joseph Woll returns from injury?

They'll go back to Woll/Samsonov457.1 %
It will be Woll/Jones from that point on43068 %
They'll rotate 3 goalies8613.6 %
They'll trade a goalie7111.2 %
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