Photo credit:Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Martin Jones gets the start again as Maple Leafs close out back-to-back against Ducks
By Joseph Zita1 month ago
It was an impressive 3-0 win for the Toronto Maple Leafs last night over the Los Angeles Kings as they kicked off their three-game California trip to begin 2024. With Joseph Woll and Ilya Samsonov unavailable, Martin Jones is the next man up, and the former Kings netminder showed up and performed very well against his former club.
Tonight, Toronto continues its road trip into Anaheim to close out its first back-to-back of the new year against the struggling Ducks. Now, with Jones having played last night in Los Angeles, Sheldon Keefe, postgame, spoke to the media and said that he would talk to Curtis Sanford, the goalie coach, and Brad Treliving before deciding who would be tonight’s starter against Anaheim.
Before their game last night, Keefe even threw out the possibility to the media that Martin Jones, depending on the game against the Kings, could start against the Ducks. So, with just a little over two hours until puck drop, Keefe confirmed to the media today that he will be going with Martin Jones between the pipes against Anaheim instead of electing to go with Dennis Hildeby.
Given they banked two points against one of the best teams in the NHL last night and now face a Ducks team at the bottom of the standings – albeit Toronto has struggled against inferior competition in the past – in the second half of a back-to-back, starting the 6’7 netminder would’ve been the wiser idea, in my opinion, especially if you plan on going with Martin Jones again on Saturday night against another one of his former teams, the San Jose Sharks.
Although the Maple Leafs play 13 games in January, including an entire week off at the end of the month leading up to the 2024 NHL All-Star weekend, they still have two more back-to-backs on the schedule (Jan. 13/14 and Jan. 20/21). So, without any concrete timeline for Ilya Samsonov’s return to the NHL – if he’ll even find his game again – if you’re going to be riding with Jones and Hildeby, I think it’d be wise not to overwork your 33-year-old third-string goalie, who is now your starting goalie.
Maple Leafs’ lineup:
Matthew Knies – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi – John Tavares – William Nylander
Noah Gregor – Max Domi – Calle Jarnkrok
Bobby McMann – David Kampf – Pontus Holmberg
Morgan Rielly – TJ Brodie
Simon Benoit – Jake McCabe
Mark Giordano – Timothy Liljegren
Sheldon Keefe had another lineup change that he confirmed to the media this evening, and it was Pontus Holmberg returning to the lineup in place of Nick Robertson, who played just 8:39 last night, the lowest ice time he’s seen since December 23rd. I guess two goals in three games while only seeing between eight and 12 minutes of ice time a night is not good enough for Sheldon Keefe.
Alex Killorn – Mason McTavish – Frank Vatrano
Max Jones – Trevor Zegras – Ryan Strome
Adam Henrique – Isac Lundestrom – Brett Leason
Brock McGinn – Sam Carrick – Jakob Silfverberg
Cam Fowler – Jamie Drysdale
Urho Vaakanainen – Radko Gudas
Pavel Mintyukov – Ilya Lyubushkin
Martin Jones (TOR) vs Lukas Dostal (ANA)
Sportsnet, 9:00 pm ET/6:00 pm PT
(Stats from Hockeydb.com)
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