The Maple Leafs triumphed over the Ottawa Senators in a hard-fought Battle of Ontario, clinching a 4-3 victory at the Canadian Tire Centre. The win, however, was overshadowed by concern as goaltender Joseph Woll left the game in the third period due to an apparent left leg injury.
Woll showcased exceptional goaltending skills throughout more than two periods, blocking shots and earning accolades from Toronto fans. His remarkable saves, including two crucial grabs against Senators’ Vladimir Tarasenko, played a pivotal role in providing the Leafs with an edge in the closely contested matchup. Woll’s performance received praise from defenseman Morgan Rielly, highlighting the young goalie’s confidence and positive impact on the team.
This stellar effort by Woll came on the heels of a strong performance in Toronto’s recent overtime loss to the Boston Bruins, marking a significant rebound from a challenging game on Nov. 8 when he allowed six goals against the Senators.
However, elation turned to worry in the third period when Woll collapsed after blocking a shot, unable to put weight on his left leg. Head coach Sheldon Keefe expressed concern, stating that Woll is “going to miss time for sure” and will undergo a comprehensive assessment upon the team’s return home. The setback is particularly unfortunate as Woll had been building momentum in his season and career.
In Woll’s absence, veteran Martin Jones made his Leafs debut, stepping in as a replacement. Jones, recently called up from the AHL’s Marlies, demonstrated his experience by stopping eight of nine shots in the final 10 minutes. Claude Giroux’s slapshot was the only shot that beat Jones, and it occurred with the Senators’ net empty for an extra attacker.
Despite the goalie switch, the Leafs continued their comeback trend. After Ottawa’s Josh Norris scored in the first period, the Leafs responded with two goals in the second. Mitch Marner capitalized on a long pass to beat Senators goalie Anton Forsberg, while David Kämpf added another goal, his second of the season, in a chaotic net-front situation.
In the third period, Calle Järnkrok and William Nylander further widened the Leafs’ lead, but Senators’ Jacob Bernard-Docker and Giroux managed to narrow the margin in the dying minutes of the game.
The victory was bittersweet for the Maple Leafs, with the joy of the win tempered by concerns about Woll’s injury. As the team looks ahead, the performance of both Woll and Jones will likely play a crucial role in shaping their goaltending strategy in the upcoming games.