Leafs confirm starting goalie and lineup for tonight's game against the Flames
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Leafs confirm starting goalie and lineup for tonight's game against the Flames

Sheldon Keefe grasping at straws these days...



There's a clear problem with the Toronto Maple Leafs right now, and there are plenty of people wondering if head coach Sheldon Keefe is the right man to the lead the team moving forward.

Toronto is getting world-class production out of goal scoring forward Auston Matthews, who is on track to reach well over the 60 goal mark. However, the likes of Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi, both of whom were brought in by new general manager Brad Treliving over the summer, haven't produced as the team envisioned. 

Additionally, newly re-signed forward William Nylander routinely goes through dry spells, while captain John Tavares is now pointless in his last five outings. What's more, the Leafs have now lost three games in a row after having enjoyed the lead in all three of them before allowing their opponents to overtake them.

The team's goaltending has been and up and down rollercoaster for years now, but this season has been particularly erratic. Ilya Samsonov has been dreadful to the point where he was plunked on waivers and shipped to the AHL in order to get his mental game back on track. Youngster Joseph Woll has been good when called upon, but he's dealt with an ongoing injury issue for weeks now. That leaves the team in the hands of 34 year old journeyman Martin Jones and, while he's been adequate, he's not the type of player you want to pin your Stanley Cup Playoff hopes on.

Tonight, it appears that the Leafs will turn to Jones for the start against the Calgary Flames in Calgary.

As for the rest of the Leafs' lineup, here's how they're expected to line up this evening:

Yesterday, with Keefe seemingly grasping at straws to get some reactions out of his players, he issued a public callout. Of course, he's already issued public callouts to individual players by name, but now he's taking things a step further by saying at the midpoint of the season, he's unsure of who on their roster that he's able to depend on.

"After 42 games, I still have questions about who I can rely upon," Keefe said yesterday in Calgary. 


To me that sounds like a coach who is running out of cards to play. Multiple rumor blogs in the Leafs social media landscape reported earlier this way that the team's ownership, President Brendan Shanahan and GM Brad Treliving all met to discuss a potential change behind the bench. That, combined with Keefe's defeated sounding quotes makes me wonder if it's all caving in on this team's coaching staff?

Source: Mark Masters