Martin Jones looks for his third straight win Saturday
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Leafs make surprising announcement regarding starting goaltender Saturday

Published January 5, 2024 at 7:25 PM
BY RYAN SMITHERAM

As Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov continues to rediscover himself and his game back in Toronto, the Leafs are in San Jose to wrap up their annual California road trip against the Sharks on Saturday night. The Leafs won the first two games on back-to-back nights against the LA Kings and Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Can they make it 3 in a row?

In an unusual case for the Leafs, they elected to start Martin Jones in both games of the back-to-back on Tuesday and Wednesday. Many initially thought that rookie and 2022 fourth-round pick Dennis Hildeby would get the start against the Sharks on Saturday as a result. That is not the case, however, as the Leafs and head coach Sheldon Keefe announced on Friday that Jones will start once again.

Fans appear largely divided on the decision, as many are excited to see what Dennis Hildeby can do at the NHL level. Meanwhile, others know how important it is to "ride the hot hand", as it were. With how well Jones playing right now, I'm not sure how you can fault the Leafs for going right back to him.

Since relieving the injured Joseph Woll on December 9th against the Ottawa Senators, Jones has played in 10 games for the Leafs. In those 10 games he has gone 6-3-0 with two shutouts, 2.20GAA and .930 save percentage. Jones will look to secure a third straight win for himself and the Leafs in his fourth consecutive start. There is a larger conversation that needs to be had, though. If Jones continues to play at the level to which he has been playing, can the Leafs now afford to move on from Samsonov and his $3.55M cap hit? That's a topic for another day.


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January 5   |   1045 answers
Leafs make surprising announcement regarding starting goaltender Saturday

Should the Leafs have given Hildeby the chance to play on the California road trip?

Yes48045.9 %
No, Jones is playing too well56554.1 %
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