Joseph Woll
Photo credit: NHL

Leafs avoid a potential catastrophe, name starting goalie for tonight's game against Washington

Published March 20, 2024 at 11:48
BY MIKE ARMENTI

The Toronto Maple Leafs gave fans a bit of a scare on Tuesday when they sent Ilya Samsonov and Martin Jones out onto the ice for warmups. Up to that point, Woll had been acting as Samsonov's backup netminder, so his inconspicuous and unexplained absence was somewhat concerning for fans.

Well, as it turns out, there was nothing to be concerned about, as Joseph Woll is healthy and did not suffer any sort of a setback following his 3 games since coming back from his high-ankle sprain. In fact, he's expected to get the nod tonight in Washington in the 2nd half of a back-to-back after last night's loss in Philly.

NHL.com's Dave McCarthy shared the news of Woll's expected start on Wednesday and took the time to share some comments directly from the young netminder, who is chomping at the bit to get back in the net against the Capitals tonight.

"I'm excited to get a good chance to get back in the net. I feel like this last week-and-a-half or so has been good for me -- learning how to be a good teammate when I'm not playing and supporting the team, and then also giving me time to step back and be able to reset and just focus on some stuff." - Woll on his diminished role of late



Woll's focus on being a good teammate is certainly important and has given Ilya Samsonov a cheering section of his own on the bench and in the locker room. Woll's job at this point as Samsonov's backup is to help push him and support him as he continues to play well. Woll seems to understand the assignment.

"It's unbelievable being able to watch him, and some of the saves he's been making recently are unbelievable. He has me jumping up and down on the bench and fired up, so my goal is to be able to help the team as well as he has been." - Woll on being there for Samsonov and providing support for his running mate

Woll has allowed 4 goals in 2 of his last 3 starts, suffering a pair of 4-1 losses to the Boston Bruins after returning from his high-ankle sprain. However, as he himself had mentioned on Monday, this stretch of games off has done him some good on the practice rink and has helped him to reset mentally. Hopefully he'll get himself and the Leafs back into the win column tonight in Washington.

The 25-year-old netminder is 16-9-7 this season, with a 2.89 GAA and a .911 SV% in 18 appearances.

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