Keefe is keeping the starting goaltender a mystery as the Maple Leafs look to keep things rolling against Boston

Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph Zita
1 month ago
After nearly a three-month absence due to a high-ankle sprain, Joseph Woll returned to the crease last Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes, helping his team pick up the 4-2 win. However, Sheldon Keefe elected to go to Ilya Samsonov against the New York Rangers on Saturday night, leaving tonight’s starter as a question mark, and that question remains today.
At Maple Leafs’ skates the day of the game, the goalie that exits the ice first is typically the projected starter for the game that night. According to David Alter, Ilya Samsonov was the first goalie off the ice this morning, but he may not be the starter tonight. It remains unclear after hearing Sheldon Keefe speak to the media after practice.
It made sense not to go back to Woll Saturday night against the Rangers because they likely want to ease him into the workload again, especially coming off a high-ankle sprain. But as Keefe mentioned this morning, as seen above, they can’t let the 25-year-old sit for too long and not get playing time.
Woll started the season hot before sustaining the injury in a game against the Ottawa Senators in early December, and in his return last week, stopped 30 of 32 shots to improve his season numbers to a 2.74 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage in 16 games.
With three games in the next four days – two against the Bruins – Samsonov and Woll will likely split the back-to-back on Wednesday and Thursday unless Sheldon Keefe wants Martin Jones to get a game, which I doubt unless it’s against the Sabres Wednesday night at home.
If I had to lay out the goalie schedule for this week, and Keefe wants to get all three goalies at least one game, I’d go with this:
Monday: Woll vs Boston
Wednesday: Samsonov/Jones vs Buffalo
Thursday: Woll vs Boston
Saturday: Jones/Samsonov vs Montreal
Although Keefe has come out and said they plan to run with three goalies, it remains unclear if that will be their plan after the trade deadline. If that is their plan after the trade deadline, getting a game in for all three goalies seems realistic because, after Saturday’s game in Montreal, Toronto has four days off before playing the Flyers in Philadelphia on March 14th.
I doubt they’d want Jones to sit for an extended period without getting at least one game in. If they were to rely heavily on one of Woll or Samsonov this week, it wouldn’t be wise to sit one longer than the other either, given they have five games in the next 12 days, followed by eight games in the next 15 days to end the month of March.
It’ll be interesting to see how they deploy their three goalies moving forward with just 22 games left in the season.

Pregame details:

Toronto Maple Leafs’ lineup:

Matthew Knies – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi – Max Domi – William Nylander
Bobby McMann – John Tavares – Calle Jarnkrok
Pontus Holmberg – David Kampf – Ryan Reaves
Morgan Rielly – Ilya Lyubushkin
TJ Brodie – Timothy Liljegren
Simon Benoit – Jake McCabe
One lineup note: After leaving Saturday’s game with a head injury after a hit from Matt Rempe, Ilya Lyubushkin is feeling “good” today and will be back in the lineup tonight against the Bruins.

Boston Bruins’ lineup:

Brad Marchand – Charlie Coyle – Jake DeBrusk
Danton Heinen – Morgan Geekie – David Pastrnak
James van Riemsdyk – Jesper Boqvist – Trent Frederic
Jakob Lauko – Marc McLaughlin – Justin Brazeau
Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy
Mason Lohrei – Brandon Carlo
Parker Wotherspoon – Kevin Shattenkirk
One lineup note: Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery told the media after their morning skate that Pavel Zacha is a game-time decision tonight despite not taking line rushes.

Projected goalies:

Ilya Samsonov (TOR) vs Jeremy Swayman (BOS)


Sportsnet, 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT
(Stats from hockey-reference.com)
(Projected lineups from dailyfaceoff.com)

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