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Leafs make interesting goaltending decision ahead of the team's back-to-back in New York


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Mike Armenti
December 11, 2023  (12:55)
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Saturday night's 4-0 win over the Nashville Predators was as dominant a performance as the Maple Leafs have put together all season, with Ilya Samsonov shutting the door for his 11th career shutout.

Samsonov has been thrust back into the starting role in Toronto after the injury that Joseph Woll had suffered on Thursday night in Ottawa, and Sammy made no mistake, putting forth his best effort of the year so far. Apparently, the coaching staff liked what they saw from Samsonov in his first outing since November 24th, because he's drawing the start for tonight's game against the Islanders as well.
Samsonov was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate, which is the typical routine for a starting goalie. There are implications for Martin Jones here as well, as Sammy starting tonight likely means that Jones will draw in tomorrow against the ever-dangerous New York Rangers.
Jones had picked up his first win as a Leaf on Thursday, coming into the game against the Senators in relief of the injured Joseph Woll. Despite coming in cold, Jones made a number of timely saves to stave off a late push by the Sens to tie the game and force OT. With the win, Jones showed that he could be counted on to step in, even in tough circumstances, and provide the Leafs with quality goaltending. Since back-to-back scenarios are also tough circumstances, Jones will look to try to replicate the success he experienced on Thursday in Ottawa - only this time, over a full 60 minutes against the Rangers.
Prior to being called up by the Leafs, Jones had amassed a 2-1-1 record for the Toronto Marlies in the AHL, posting a 3.37 SV% and a .870 GAA. Not the start he was hoping for, but his .900 SV% with the Leafs so far looks a little better for the 3rd string netminder.
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Leafs make interesting goaltending decision ahead of the team's back-to-back in New York

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