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Maple Leafs at Sabres: Joseph Woll makes NHL debut in net

As the Leafs return to their home away from home.

Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 6: Joseph Woll #60 of the Toronto Maple Leafs warms up prior to action against the Boston Bruins in an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on November 6, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Bruins 5-2.
Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs @ Buffalo Sabres: Game #16

7:00 p.m. ET at KeyBank Arena
TV/Streaming: CBC, Sportsnet
Opponent’s Site: Die by the Blade

23-year-old Joseph Woll, who was drafted in the third round in 2016 by the Leafs, will make his NHL debut tonight against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night. For those who haven’t kept track of Woll’s progression as a prospect, here’s a quick overview.

After getting drafted, Woll spent three years at Boston College, playing to a .916 save percentage, before graduating early and going pro. Unfortunately, his first two seasons with the Marlies haven’t been impressive as the farm team has struggled to be competitive since 2019. His AHL save percentage is not great, .885, but Woll has put up some impressive performances on occasion, including a 57-save win against Laval and three shutouts. Hopefully tonight is now one of them?

Recent Leafs goalies making their NHL debuts include Kasimir Kaskisuo (2019), Antoine Bibeau (2016), and Garret Sparks (2015). Kaskisuo and Bibeau both lost their games, Sparks famously earned a 24-save shutout of the Edmonton Oilers in his debut. He was the most recent goalie to get a shutout in his NHL debut until Zach Fucale made 21 saves in his debut on Thursday.

Sheldon Keefe hasn’t indicated any lineup changes for tonight’s back-to-back after a 2-1 OT win over the Calgary Flames. Travis Dermott will remain a healthy scratch, along with Kirill Semyonov and Joey Anderson. UPDATE: Dermott and Semyonov are in!

Forwards

Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Alex Kerfoot - John Tavares - Mitchell Marner
Pierre Engvall - David Kämpf - Ondřej Kaše
Nick Ritchie - Jason Spezza - Kirill Semyonov
Joey Anderson, Wayne Simmonds

Defense

Morgan Rielly - TJ Brodie
Jake Muzzin - Justin Holl
Travis Dermott - Timothy Liljegren
Scratched: Rasmus Sandin

Goalies

Joseph Woll - confirmed starter
Jack Campbell

Them

The Sabres, who currently sit fifth in the Atlantic Division, are also on the second half of a back to back after upsetting the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 last night. Rasmus Asplund is the team’s leading scorer with 10 points in 13 games, with Victor Olofsson leading the team in goals with five.

Connor McDavid went up against Dylan Cozens last night, and the rookie centre held McDavid to 10-8 in Corsi at 5v5. Cozens’ line didn’t do as well against Draisaitl, but looking at the shifts, it seems most of that came from the last 10 minutes of the game when the Oilers were pushing to tie. Through two periods, the Sabres actually held the Oilers even in shots and were actually ahead in expected goals. In terms of real goals, the Sabres all three of theirs at 5v5 while giving up two on the power play. I don’t think that says much about their penalty kill when you take into account the Oilers power play (and how that’s pretty much their only way of scoring).

To me, the Sabres look like a really well-coached, coordinated, and resilient team. I never thought I’d say that about the team in the past decade but it’s true. Things are on the up for them. The Leafs will need to be careful as they’d generally had trouble against low-talent/high-tenacity teams.

Forwards

Jeff Skinner - Tage Thompson - Rasmus Asplund
Drake Caggiula - Dylan Cozens - Vinnie Hinostroza
Zemgus Girgensons - Cody Eakin - Kyle Okposo
Anders Bjork - Arttu Ruotsalainen - John Hayden

Defense

Rasmus Dahlin - Mark Pysyk
Jacob Bryson - Colin Miller
Will Butcher - Robert Hägg

Goalies

Aaron Dell - confirmed starter
Craig Anderson