Ilya Samsonov starts in goal for the Leafs tonight
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Leafs make surprising decision on starting goalie tonight

Published February 21, 2024 at 3:25 PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs enter Mullett Arena to take on the Arizona Coyotes tonight in the midst of a 4-game winning streak. Without Morgan Rielly, who will be serving the final game of his suspension, the Leafs will look to go perfect in his absence before he returns tomorrow night against the Vegas Golden Knights. After a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Monday evening, many expected Martin Jones to get the nod tonight given the back-to-back situation the Leafs are in.

That, however, is not the case as Ilya Samsonov was the first goalie off the ice at the team's game day skate, implying that he will get the start instead. It comes as a bit of a surprise given that the Leafs are playing a Coyotes team that has lost 10 straight games and are near the bottom of the standings. Jones last played on Saturday when the Leafs thumped the Anaheim Ducks 9-2 and it would have made more sense for him to play tonight as well.

Heading into tonight, Samsonov has won his last four starts and seven of his last eight. On the season, he is 12-4-6 through 24 games with two shutouts, a 3.19GAA and .882 save percentage. Both his GAA and save percentage have changed drastically for the better since he returned from his stint with the Leafs development staff in early January. Samsonov has posted a SV% of .905 or better in 3 of his last 4 outings.

February 21   |   736 answers
Leafs make surprising decision on starting goalie tonight

How would you grade Martin Jones' performance with the Leafs this season?

A19126 %
B48365.6 %
C628.4 %
D or lower00 %
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