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“You can’t let in the first shot of the game” Sheldon Keefe wants more from Joseph Woll, team in front

Toronto Maple Leafs
Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Seney
13 days ago
Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Joseph Woll was recently given a chance to steal the crease as the #1 starter and he hasn’t necessarily blown his head coach away with his recent performances.
After once again letting in the first goal, this time against the New Jersey Devils, in a first period the Leafs ended up dominating but still trailing, Keefe wasn’t happy seeing the first shot of the game beat his netminder:
You can’t let in the first shot of the game. That’s two in a row now.
Keefe hated everything about the Devils’ performance from a team aspect and admitted the team as a whole gave up too many grade-A chances, but seeing him not hold back on calling out Woll as well, shows he’s lacking confidence in the young netminder. It’s too bad for Woll because, with Ilya Samsonov currently injured and missing the last two games, it gave the 25-year-old a chance to make an impression on the coaching staff for consideration for Game 1 of the playoffs.

Woll Hasn’t Found His Groove After Ankle Injury

After suffering a high-ankle sprain in early December and missing a couple of months, Woll returned to action in late February and has yet to win back-to-back starts. He’s won only two of six starts and has let in at least three goals in four of these appearances.
Keefe was hopeful a strong start in Carolina last weekend was going to propel Woll against the Devils, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case at all:
If last game was any indication, he’s building momentum & kind of getting back into a groove. That’s why it was important to get him back in
On the season, Woll has posted a 10-9-1 record, along with a 2.96 GAA and .908 Sv.%. Unfortunately, it’s been a down season and if the playoffs were starting this week, even with Samsonov working his way back from a mystery injury, there’s zero doubt the Russian netminder would be given the net in Game 1 of the playoffs instead of Woll.

Maple Leafs Need Woll to Find His Game

Even if Samsonov is going to start in the postseason, having both goalies at the top of their game is vital entering the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Toronto has 11 games left on the season and two more back-to-backs, so there’s no doubt Woll will get back in.
Keefe’s goaltending plans could be thrown a wrench if Samsonov isn’t fully healthy and needs some time off. He’s expected to be back at practice on Wednesday and could very well start against his old team, the Washington Capitals on Thursday. Because of the injury troubles to both Woll and Samsonov, it’s extremely important to try and get both going in case one can’t dress. Having Martin Jones in their back pocket and even Matt Murray working back to being ready in mid-April is a nice element of depth considering all the question marks in the Maple Leafs’ crease this season and leading into the playoffs.

Toronto’s Nowhere Near Ready for the Playoffs

The team’s goaltending situation isn’t the only question mark right now, which is very concerning considering it’s late March. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are around the corner and the Leafs are set up to play either the Florida Panthers or Boston Bruins. Right now it feels like this Leafs team would get swept by either opponent.
Mitch Marner cannot come back fast enough, and the same can be said about Calle Jarnkrok who does a great job bringing some stability and consistency to the Leafs’ bottom six. The defensive corps is banged up with Morgan Rielly being day-to-day and Joel Edmundson out at least a week, which doesn’t help at all when it comes to trying to find the perfect pairings leading into the postseason. The Maple Leafs aren’t going to have any time together as their ‘playoff lineup’ which doesn’t usually bode well for success. The team will be banking on the development of chemistry and a sense of urgency once the postseason rolls around. Toronto hasn’t found their killer instinct at all this season and needs every ounce of it to come in time for Game 1.
Keefe wasn’t happy after the Devils game. He called out the team’s lack of maturity and the core/experienced players who are supposed to be leading the charge. The Leafs coach also called out Woll and his inability to keep the puck out of his net early on in games. Toronto needs to clean things up and in a hurry, as they are nowhere near playoff-ready, Woll included.

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