Leafs head coach addresses how he'll handle goaltending decisions ahead of upcoming back-to-back this weekend

Published March 16, 2023 at 5:15 PM

Ahead of their matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow night, the Leafs hit the ice this afternoon for practice. As the skate was coming to a close, goaltender Ilya Samsonov was the first goalie to leave the ice, which usually infers he is the starting goalie for the upcoming game.

Despite this, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe is unclear about the goalie plan this weekend but stated that both goalies will take the crease at some point. With an upcoming back-to-back on Friday and Saturday, it makes sense both goaltenders will have the opportunity to play.

With the Hurricanes coming to town tomorrow for the Leafs annual Saint Patrick's day game, it's understandable Samsonov would be the go-to option. The Hurricanes sit first in the Metropolitan Division and second in the entire Eastern Conference standings with 96 points. Samsonov has been the number one option in the second half of the season with partner Matt Murray being sidelined with injury.

Samsonov is coming off a 2-1 shootout loss against the Colorado Avalanche where he stood tall against the defending Stanley Cup Champions stopping 29 of 30 shots he faced. This season, Samsonov has a record of 23-8-3 with a 2.36 GAA and a 0.916 SV%.

On the other hand, if this is the case, Murray would face off against his former team the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night. Since returning, Murray has been shaky allowing 4 goals in his past 5 starts. If Samsonov gets the start tomorrow, Murray will play against his former team for the first time in a Leafs uniform.

Murray is coming off a 4-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres which found the Sabres crawl back after trailing 2-0 at one point. This season, Murray has a record of 12-7-2 with a 2.92 GAA and a 0.903 SV%. With the possibility of going up against his former team, Murray will be hungry to get back on track before the playoffs kick-off.

Credit: hockeydb.com - Ilya Samsonov, hockeydb.com - Matt Murray
March 16   |   178 answers
Leafs head coach addresses how he'll handle goaltending decisions ahead of upcoming back-to-back this weekend

Who will start against the Hurricanes/Senators?

Samsonov (CAR) /Murray (OTT)13877.5 %
Murray (CAR) /Samsonov (OTT)4022.5 %
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