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Ilya Samsonov to Start for Maple Leafs vs Red Wings Sunday Night

Ilya Samsonov gets the start for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday night versus the Detroit Red Wings.

In what some fans might see as a surprising decision, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe has announced that goaltender Ilya Samsonov will be between the pipes tonight against the Red Wings Sunday night. Despite recent challenges for the netminder, he’s getting another chance and far earlier than many in Leafs Nation would have expected.

This decision follows the Leafs’ need to recover from a disheartening loss to the Colorado Avalanche over the weekend, coupled with limited goaltending options for a back-to-back matchup.

Samsonov has had a challenging season, registering a save percentage of .862 and a 3.94 goals-against average. In 15 games, he holds a 5-2-6 record. The recent four matches have proven particularly tough for him, resulting in losses and a total of 25 goals allowed.

The team placed him on waivers and subsequently assigned him to the American Hockey League, where he participated in practice sessions with the Leafs’ minor league affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. Samsonov did did not make any game appearances. However, on Wednesday, he was recalled to serve as a backup for veteran Martin Jones. With Jones struggling on Saturday and Joseph Woll still out with an injury, Keefe is going to Samsonov on Sunday night.

An Easy Win for Red Wings Or Will Samsonov Surprise?

The game holds immense significance for both the team and Samsonov. A strong performance could indicate that his time away from the team and his stint in the AHL, where he focused on refining his mental game, has proven beneficial. On the other hand, if Samsonov struggles and allows the Red Wings to light up the scoreboard, it might prompt the team to reassess their goaltending strategy moving forward.

Iyla Samsonov Maple Leafs
Iyla Samsonov and the Maple Leafs are headed to arbitration hearing today.

The unpredictability of this matchup has fans divided in their expectations. While some believe it will be an easy win for the Red Wings, others are suggesting the best case scenario is that this turns into a high-scoring affair. For betting enthusiasts, there’s a sentiment to consider taking the over, anticipating an offensive showdown.

Next: Tavares, Bertuzzi Sent Major Message In Maple Leafs Loss to Avs

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Roy James Peters

    January 14, 2024 at 11:09 am

    The Leafs need a strong performance from Samsonov and he needs to be on game for his confidence, the only one who doesn’t seem to be in tune with the games is Keefe he needs to go.

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