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Preview/Lines #40: Jones Saving the Day for Leafs

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Credit: Toronto Maple Leafs

Martin Jones was signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs to be their third goalie. Instead, he’s saving the day for them.

Jones, 33, the San Jose Sharks’ starting goalie from 2015 to 2021, has posted a 6-3-0 record and a team-high .930 Save % in the place of presumed starter Ilya Samsonov, struggling so much that’s he’s been sent to the AHL, and back-up Joseph Woll, out with a week-to-week ankle injury.

“Jones is in a good place right now,” Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said recently.

Since leaving San Jose, Jones has had a penchant for strong play early in the season. In 2021-22, Jones started out 6-4-1 with a .911 Save % for the Philadelphia Flyers, from October to December. In 2022-23, Jones started out 23-7-3 with an .896 Save % with the Seattle Kraken, from October to January.

Jones didn’t finish as strong as he started, hence why both teams let him walk as a free agent and he had to sign with Toronto as the odd goalie out.

But the veteran has also proven in recent seasons that he’s still capable of excellent NHL play for long stretches, which the Maple Leafs are benefiting from now.

His former team will get to see that up close and personal tonight: Jones will start against the San Jose Sharks.

San Jose Sharks (9-27-3)

The San Jose Sharks didn’t practice yesterday or have morning skate today, so we won’t know the line-up until two hours before the game.

Here’s how they lined up on Thursday:

David Quinn said that the Sharks aren’t calling anybody up in Studnicka’s place, at least not yet. Blackwood will start once again. Nikita Okhotiuk will slide in for Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

Couture is still progressing well. Kyle Burroughs is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. There are no other significant injury updates, though Nico Sturm will travel with the team.

Toronto Maple Leafs (19-10-7)

Along with Jones, Noah Gregor also returns to SAP Center today. The ex-San Jose Sharks prospect has five goals and two assists in 36 games, averaging a little less than 12 minutes a night in blue.

Here’s how they lined up at practice yesterday:

Where to Watch

Puck drop between the San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs is 4 PM PT at SAP Center. Watch it live on NBC Sports California. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

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