Ilya Samsonov gives his thoughts on a rough first game for him personally in the season opener

Mike Armenti
October 12, 2023  (10:06)

It wasn't exactly a banner night for Ilya Samsonov in the Leafs' home opener on Wednesday, as the Russian netminder surrendered 5 goals in a 6-5 shootout win against the Montreal Canadiens.

You could tell from his post-game interview that he was not too pleased with his individual performance, but he clearly understands that one game doesn't define a season. He emphasized that getting the two points was the most important thing, but alluded to the fact that he has some work to do to clean up a few things with the coaches.
"Not fun game for a goalies - especially Toronto goalies. Too many [bounces]... It's not too fun, but it's okay. We win, we have two points and I'm so excited about the result.

I want to just forget this game and I will watch some video with coaches. We'll see what's going on, but it's hard to say right now, because of [bounces]. I'm here [to] get better everyday... We have a practice before the Minnesota game [on Saturday], I will be focused on what I need to do." - Samsonov on putting the home opener behind him and trying to improve every day moving forward

Samsonov was shaky in this one, but felt that some of the bounces just didn't go his way. Nobody is expecting these guys to be in mid-season form on night one, but for Samsonov, even when down 5-3 late in the 3rd, he just did what he could to maintain his focus and shut the door from there on out in hopes of allowing his team to climb back into the game, which they did, thanks to an Auston Matthews hat trick goal to force overtime. From there, Sammy was stellar in the 3-on-3 OT frame, as well as during the shootout, stopping all 3 shooters he faced to secure the win.
"How I said, just concentration for the next shot, next puck, and we have the best players in the world. I believe in these guys and everyone in this locker room knows that it doesn't matter, 2-0, 3-0, 5-0, you know, we have a chance to win." - Samsonov on his belief in the team and the Leafs having the firepower to overcome any deficit

The Leafs have a day off on Thursday, but will be back on the ice for practice on Friday to prepare for a Saturday night tilt against the Minnesota Wild. Still no word on who will start that game, but we have seen Sheldon Keefe turn right back to Samsonov after a rough game before in hopes of building his confidence, so we shouldn't be surprised if Sammy gets the nod on Saturday.
Samsonov's full post-game interview availablehere.
12 OCTOBRE   |   102 ANSWERS
Ilya Samsonov gives his thoughts on a rough first game for him personally in the season opener

Who would you start on Saturday night if you were Sheldon Keefe?

Joseph Woll4140.2 %
Ilya Samsonov6159.8 %
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