Ilya Samsonov back in action tonight for the Leafs
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Sheldon Keefe makes risky decision, announces tonight's starting goalie against Detroit

Published January 14, 2024 at 12:32

The Toronto Maple Leafs have barely had time to digest the tough loss to Colorado last night, but maybe that's for the best. The Leafs are back in action on Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings and I'm sure both the players and the coaching staff are looking to put last night's loss behind them.

With Martin Jones having played 7 consecutive games for the Leafs, including both ends of a back-to-back against Los Angeles and Anaheim at the beginning of this month, Sheldon Keefe confirmed on Saturday that he would get a rest on Sunday. It's just as well, as Jones appears to be suffering the effects of fatigue, allowing 4 goals in each of his last two starts against the Avalanche and Islanders this week.

Keefe told the media on Saturday that he wasn't quite sure who would be starting on Sunday against Detroit, which had fans wondering whether Ilya Samsonov would make his way back into the lineup for the first time since the end of December or if Dennis Hildeby would be recalled from the Toronto Marlies for his first career NHL start after posting a 20-save shutout for the Marlies earlier this week. Well, now we have our answer.

Keefe confirmed on Sunday afternoon that Samsonov would draw back in for the Leafs against the Red Wings.

Samsonov has lost his last 4 consecutive starts, allowing a combined 21 goals over that span. His last start came back on December 29th against the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets. Samsonov allowed 6 goals on the evening.

Following his loss to Columbus the Leafs placed Samsonov on waivers, with the 26-year-old netminder clearing and being re-assigned to the Toronto Marlies to work with Hannu Toivonen and the Leafs' development staff. The hope here is that Samsonov has been able to re-discover his game and re-adjust his focus to perform closer to the way he did last season, when he posted a .919 SV%.

If Samsonov can get back into the win column tonight in impressive fashion, perhaps he can build some momentum that he can use to his benefit. However, if he crashes and burns in his first taste of NHL action since December 29th, you'd have to imagine that his time with the Leafs will be coming to an abrupt end.
January 14   |   707 answers
Sheldon Keefe makes risky decision, announces tonight's starting goalie against Detroit

How short of a leash will Ilya Samsonov be on before he's sent back down to the Marlies?

1 more bad loss and it's over for him38053.7 %
He'll get a few games at least22231.4 %
If he wins games, the goals against won't matter10514.9 %
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