NHL insider believes Maple Leafs could drop Ilya Samsonov, start Joseph Woll for crunch game 5 against Bruins

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs
Maple Leafs consider starting Joseph Woll over Ilya Samsonov for crucial Game 5 against Bruins

Ilya Samsonov, the goaltender for the Toronto Maple Leafs, is under scrutiny following NHL insider David Alter's recent revelation on X (formerly Twitter).

Alter's post hints at a potential goaltending shakeup for the Leafs in their pivotal Game 5 clash against the Boston Bruins.

"Joseph Woll is not on the ice for the team’s optional skate while Ilya Samsonov and Martin Jones are taking part. Strongly projects that Woll will start tonight against Boston," Alter shared on X

Down 3-1 in the first-round series, the Leafs are on the brink of elimination, heightening the significance of any lineup adjustments. Alter's insights imply that head coach Sheldon Keefe is considering a daring move, potentially sidelining struggling goalie Ilya Samsonov in favor of the promising Joseph Woll.

In his post, Alter highlights Woll's absence from the team's optional skate while Samsonov and Martin Jones hit the ice, signaling a potential change in the goalie rotation.

The choice to start Woll would be a shift from the norm, as Samsonov has manned the crease throughout the series, albeit with mixed success. Despite glimpses of brilliance, Samsonov's play has been uneven, causing Keefe to look for improvements in goaltending and special teams.

Woll, who stepped in admirably during Game 4 after relieving Samsonov, presents a compelling case for a starting role. Keefe has previous experience turning to Woll in high-pressure situations, as evidenced by his clutch performance against the Florida Panthers last season.

Ilya Samsonov's reduced TOI in Game 4 loss

In Game 4 against the Boston Bruins, Ilya Samsonov experienced a rough outing, playing only 40 minutes and recording his worst save percentage of the series at .824. Brad Marchand's stellar performance for Boston, breaking the team's playoff goals record with his 56th goal, contributed to the Bruins' 3-1 victory.

James van Riemsdyk and David Pastrnak both scored for Boston, while Mitch Marner scored the only goal for Toronto. The game featured an extremely enthusiastic bench lineup in Toronto, with apparent frustrations among players.

However, the Leafs made some moves, with the return of William Nylander after missing games for injuries and players like that made it complicated to get through for the Bruins' solid defensive structure, and effective power play.

Now, with just one victory separating the Bruins from the next round, Toronto needs to pull themselves together, correct their defensive strategies, and be ready for the battle that they will have to fight to go on with the playoffs.

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