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Leafs make confusing, controversial decision on who will start in net against Nashville


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Ryan Smitheram
December 9, 2023  (11:19)
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The Toronto Maple Leafs will have to endure without Joseph Woll for the foreseeable future as the netminder is officially labelled out week-to-week with a high ankle sprain. The news was revealed this morning, ahead of tonight's game against the Nashville Predators. Not an ideal way to begin the weekend.

Ilya Samsonov has not played since November 24th and Martin Jones saw his first NHL action Thursday night in relief of the injured Woll since the playoffs last season with Seattle.
Ahead of tonight's game against Nashville, the Leafs took to the ice for the morning skate and in a surprising scene, it was Martin Jones in the starter's net instead of Ilya Samsonov. However, Samsonov was the first goalie off the ice, which indicates he will get the nod between the pipes for the Leafs tonight.
The decision is a bit of a controversial one, as Samsonov was battling a mysterious illness for the better part of the last couple of weeks. He had not been able to practice much and even had to leave practice early on one occasion earlier this week and was also held out of Thursday's game in Ottawa, not even well enough to back up Joseph Woll, yet just two days later, he's the starter against a red-hot Nashville Predators team that is 8-2-0 in their last 10? This is a questionable decision for sure.
Samsonov has struggled in 10 games this season for the Leafs, posting a 4-1-3 record with a 3.58 GAA and .878 save percentage, being pulled twice over that stretch. With Woll out long-term, the Leafs have to hope that Samsonov is able to regain the form he had shown last season. Although he has been battling the flu for the last week, Samsonov has been able to work with goaltending coach Curtis Sanford and hopefully the extra work and time out of the spotlight has helped him correct the little things he was struggling with earlier in the season.
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9 DECEMBRE   |   818 ANSWERS
Leafs make confusing, controversial decision on who will start in net against Nashville

Should the Leafs be starting Jones instead of Samsonov tonight?

Yes, he played well in relief40249.1 %
No, it's Sammy's net with Woll out41650.9 %
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