Martin Jones, Noah Gregor return to San Jose as Maple Leafs look to sweep California trip

Photo credit:Thomas Salus-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph Zita
6 months ago
After starting both halves of their recent back-to-back against the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks, Martin Jones will get his fourth straight start with tonight’s matchup against his former team as the Toronto Maple Leafs close out their three-game California trip against the San Jose Sharks.
If someone told me before the start of the season that Martin Jones and Dennis Hildeby would be the two goalies on the active roster dressed in early January, I don’t think I or anyone else would have believed that, but here we are. Between Joseph Woll’s injury and Ilya Samsonov’s consistent struggles that have since put him on waivers and sent to the Toronto Marlies, veteran Martin Jones is now the man between the pipes for this organization, with 22-year-old Dennis Hildeby, with only 17 games of experience in North America (all in the AHL), as his backup for the foreseeable future.
However, for tonight’s contest, Toronto takes on San Jose, and similarly to Anaheim, this should be a game the Maple Leafs walk all over the Sharks. But it’s the NHL, and the Maple Leafs are the Maple Leafs. Sometimes, they don’t make things easy for themselves or the fan base.
Although Jones will face another one of his former teams on this road trip, he isn’t the only Maple Leaf that is as well. Forward Noah Gregor, signed to a PTO and then a one-year contract, will return to San Jose for the first time since leaving them in free agency. The 25-year-old skated in 178 games with the Sharks over four seasons, scoring 26 goals and tallying 51 points. With the Maple Leafs, Gregor has scored five goals and seven points in 36 games while averaging the lowest ice time (11:23) since his rookie season (10:04).
On top of playing an inferior opponent, looking to sweep the California trip and two of their current teammates returning to their old team, there should be enough motivation for this Toronto team to replicate the performance they showed in Anaheim Wednesday night. Despite narrowly winning 2-1 in overtime, the Maple Leafs put up almost 60 shots and well over 100 shot attempts, and if it wasn’t for Lukas Dostal, I’m confident the score would’ve been 7-1 for Toronto at the minimum.

Pregame details:

Maple Leafs’ lineup:

Matthew Knies – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi – John Tavares – William Nylander
Pontus Holmberg – Max Domi – Calle Jarnkrok
Bobby McMann – David Kampf – Noah Gregor
Morgan Rielly – TJ Brodie
Simon Benoit – Jake McCabe
Mark Giordano – Timothy Liljegren
According to the Maple Leafs’ lines at yesterday’s skate, it looks like Pontus Holmberg will remain in the lineup, meaning Nick Robertson is heading toward a second straight scratch on this road trip.

Sharks’ lineup:

William Eklund – Tomas Hertl – Alexander Barabanov
Fabian Zetterlund – Mikael Granlund – Mike Hoffman
Luke Kunin – Logan Couture – Anthony Duclair
Justin Bailey – Ryan Carpenter – Filip Zadina
Mario Ferraro – Ty Emberson
Henry Thrun – Jan Rutta
Calen Addison – Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Projected goalies:

Martin Jones (TOR) vs Mackenzie Blackwood (SJ)


Sportsnet, 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT
(Stats from Hockey-Reference.com)
(Projected lineups from DailyFaceoff.com)

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