top of page


Belief is in the Air

Woll shuts the door, and leads the Leafs back to Toronto for game 5.

The Toronto Maple Leafs seemed dead in the water heading into tonight's game. Down 3-0 in the series to a relentlessly aggressive Panthers team with their starting goaltender injured.

The rookie goaltender to replace Samsonov was given the nod ahead of two-time Stanley Cup winner Matt Murray. Joseph Woll seemed to exude confidence before his first playoff start. When asked to describe the mood around the team before game 4, he had only one word.


That word seemed to permeate through the Leafs’ locker room, resulting in possibly their best performance of this postseason.

“I thought from an effort standpoint it was our best effort of the season,” said Sheldon Keefe postgame. “Obviously it’s a very close game but our competitiveness defensively and our urgency defensively was the best it’s been all year. Unbelievable job by our guys here tonight.”

The effort was certainly present. The Leafs outhit the Panthers 26 to 21, outshot the Panthers 21 to 15 through the first two periods to gain the lead, and blocked 21 shots, with fourteen different players putting their bodies in front of pucks. It was a do-or-die game, and the Leafs did what was necessary to keep their season alive.

The core four forwards, who many fans were quick to point out, hadn’t scored a goal in the first three games of round two, had a massive impact on last night’s game.

William Nylander opened the scoring with a power-play goal assisted by Mitch Marner, and Marner later extended the lead to 2-0 with a beautiful wrist shot from the point.

The core four delivered, and Joseph Woll shut the door.

He made 24 saves on 25 shots last night, posting a .960 SV%. The 24-year-old looked extremely calm and composed in net. “He looked really confident and in control,” said Sheldon Keefe regarding his starting goalie.

Now the series shifts back to Toronto, the score 3-1 Florida. Interestingly, the Panthers were down 3-1 in their first-round series against the Boston Bruins and were able to win it in upset fashion. Will we see history repeat itself? Can the Leafs send it back to Florida for game six?

It’s been the theme all postseason. This team will go as far as their belief will carry them.

Dave Felsbourg

Thursday, May 11, 2023

  • Facebook
  • X
  • Instagram

Empowering the next generation

of sports storytellers

© 2023 by First in Flight Creative

bottom of page