Martin Jones getting in some work at practice
Photo credit: The Leafs Nation

Leafs make surprising decision in net ahead of Saturday's Battle of Ontario

Published February 10, 2024 at 12:07
BY MIKE ARMENTI
The return to form that we saw from Ilya Samsonov over the past few weeks has been nothing short of astonishing. At one point, may were wondering whether Samsonov would ever play another game for the Leafs with how awful his performance had been, but after a couple of weeks to refocus and recalibrate, Samsonov was able to return to form to the tune of a 4-2-0 record over his last 6 starts.

However, after posting 3 straight wins with a .923 SV% or better from January 21st-27th, Samsonov has failed to post a SV% over .900 in each of his last 2 games - a loss to the New York Islanders and a win over the Dallas Stars, allowing a combined 7 goals against in those two starts.

Needless to say, there are concerns that his return to form were celebrated a bit too prematurely and that Samsonov could be headed towards another slide. As a result, the Leafs will turn to Martin Jones on Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators.




Jones has endured some struggles of his own this season, having averaged 4 goals against per game over his last 5 starts. Jones has not appeared in a game for the Leafs since January 20th, a loss to the Vancouver Canucks in which he had surrendered 6 goals. The hope is that, since some time has passed, Jones is no longer fatigued and might be able to provide the Leafs with a spark and a fresh body tonight against the Sens.

Just like we were too quick to celebrate a return to form by Samsonov, we also shouldn't read too much into Jones drawing back in tonight. Jones coming in will provide Samsonov with a bit of a breather here and may provide him with some extra time to work with the team's goaltending department and goalie coach Curtis Sanford on the details of his game. If Woll is not cleared to return before the Leafs' next game the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, it's likely that Samsonov will get another look just to see where he's at. Should he falter again, then perhaps we're looking at a scenario in which Jones takes over the net again until Woll is set to return. Unfortunately, we won't know more until next week.
POLL
10 February   |   707 answers
Leafs make surprising decision in net ahead of Saturday's Battle of Ontario

Will Martin Jones take over he starting gig in Toronto again with Ilya Samsonov's struggles re-emerging?

Yes28640.5 %
No27238.5 %
Woll will be back before long. He's the guy14921.1 %
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