Sheldon Keefe confirms Joseph Woll will start Game 5, Matthew Knies improving but won’t play
Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis18 days ago
Joseph Woll will be back in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ net for Game 5, head coach Sheldon Keefe confirmed on Thursday.
The 24-year-old rookie helped keep Toronto’s season alive on Wednesday by stopping 24 of the 25 shots that the Florida Panthers threw at him in his first-ever NHL playoff start. The Leafs won Game 4 by a score of 2-1 and now trail the Panthers 3-1 in the series.
Multiple Leafs raved about Woll’s calmness and demeanour in a must-win situation…
“Confident but calm in there at all times,” Ryan O’Reilly said. “It’s so impressive. To come in for that pressure of game & doing what he did, only giving up one, like, that’s an amazing thing”“He’s dialed in,” captain John Tavares said. “His preparation, his focus is elite”
The Leafs had been rolling with Ilya Samsonov as their starting goaltender in the playoffs, but he left Game 3 in the first period after colliding with defenceman Luke Schenn. Woll came into that game in relief of Samsonov and allowed three goals on 21 shots in what would up being a 4-3 overtime victory for the Panthers.
Woll was selected by the Leafs in the third round of the 2016 draft. He spent three seasons at Boston College and then joined the Toronto Marlies for the 2019-20 season. He made his NHL debut with the Leafs in 2021-23 and has posted an impressive .924 save percentage over 11 games since.
Veteran goaltender Matt Murray will dress as Woll’s backup and the Leafs also recalled Dennis Hildeby from the Marlies to be the team’s emergency third-string goalie. Murray’s last outing came on April 2, in which he allowed two goals on seven shots to the Detroit Red Wings in relief of Samsonov.
In other news, Keefe said that Matthew Knies has “improved a lot” but won’t be available for Game 5. Knies suffered a concussion after being thrown to the ice by Panthers’ forward Sam Bennett in Game 2 in Toronto and hasn’t skated since.
Knies made his NHL debut with the Leafs late in the regular season after his NCAA campaign wrapped up. He picked up three assists in Toronto’s first-round victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning and scored his first NHL goal against the Panthers in Game 1 of the second round.
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