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Woll projected to start, Matthews skated briefly, and Reaves remaining optimistic: Leafs Practice Notes

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Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Mazzei
1 month ago
The Leafs appear to be making a change in net as Joseph Woll was not present at the morning skate.
Based on this and the words of support Ryan Reaves gave to the press about the 25-year-old, all signs point to Woll getting the start for Game 5. It makes sense not only because the Leafs are in do-or-die mode and looking to change things up to improve their fortunes, but also desperately need saves.
Ilya Samsonov has gotten the crease for the first four games and only emerged victorious once, while the other three games were not pretty. That was especially the case in Game 4 where two of the goals he allowed were backbreaker and ones that should not have gotten past him. It was certainly commendable how he was able to rebuild himself back from rock bottom, but it’s unlikely he will get back in the crease again barring any injuries.
Auston Matthews was on the ice for the morning skate but only a few minutes which casts some doubt about his status for tonight’s game. Sheldon Keefe told reporters that it will be the doctor’s final call on whether or not Matthews plays, so whether or not he is on the ice for warmup will be a clear tell. The Leafs were preparing for him not playing as evidenced by their practice lines yesterday so they will be ready if the illness keeps him out.
This seems to be the mindset the Leafs players have going into Game 5 as they know it’s do-or-die time from now onward. The Bruins certainly know what it feels like to lose a 3-1 series lead and will be pushing hard to try and close things out tonight, but the Leafs also know that feeling as some of the players and coaching staff that were on the team when they blew the same lead in 2021 against the Canadiens are still here now.
It certainly helps to have Tyler Bertuzzi on the roster as he was a member of the Bruins that blew the lead a year ago, so he would have some insight into what areas to exploit to give Toronto a chance at a comeback. It is also worth mentioning that two of the past three series between Toronto and Boston saw the Leafs force a Game 7 after trailing 3-1.
Either way, one team is looking to repeat history while the other is hoping to avoid it. That and what is at stake for this core will make tonight’s game intriguing regardless of the outcome.
Game 5 is down in Boston where you can catch the action on Sportsnet and with puck drop set for 7 p.m. EST.

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