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Woll shines as Maple Leafs force Game 6: 'I’m having the time of my life out there'


A goaltender change helped sparked the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins to keep their season alive on Tuesday.

Joseph Woll made 27 saves in his first start of the 2024 playoffs as the Maple Leafs forced a Game 6 in Toronto on Thursday night. The former Boston College netminder made four saves in overtime before Matthew Knies provided the game-winner for Toronto.

“It’s pretty special. I mean, I’m having the time of my life out there,” Woll said post-game. “[TD Garden is] a place I’ve played a lot of big games, and to come in here and play the Bruins in an elimination game is pretty special.

"So I thought from the drop of the puck, our team had a different level of urgency, and it made me confident back there.”

Woll, 25, is youngest goaltender on Toronto's roster, while Knies, 21, is the team's youngest player. 

“As happy as I was waiting for those guys to finish [talking] up here, it’s not lost on you that you’ve got two young guys up here that made a real impact on the game here tonight,” head coach Sheldon Keefe said, speaking to the media after Knies and Woll. “So that’s terrific to see.”

Woll made his first start in two weeks on Tuesday, having last played in Toronto's second last game of the season, allowing four goals in a 5-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on April 16. He took over the starting role for the Maple Leafs early in the season while Ilya Samsonov was struggling, but saw his campaign derailed by a high-ankle sprain in early December that sidelined him until late February. 

Samsonov started each of the first four games against the Bruins, with Keefe turning to Woll for the third period of Game 4 with the Maple Leafs down 3-0. He made five saves in relief as Toronto lost 3-1.

It would appear that the net belongs to Woll for the remainder of the series as Toronto attempts to pull off the rare comeback from being 3-1 down. 

“You want to build positive momentum your own way,” Keefe said. “And yeah, you want to make them be uncomfortable. You want to make them have to pack up and head out to Toronto.”