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Sheldon Keefe's message to Ilya Samsonov sparked a shutout win over Nashville


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Mike Armenti
December 10, 2023  (11:06)
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Prior to last night's game against the Nashville Predators, Ilya Samsonov hadn't played a game since November 24th, being usurped by Joseph Woll as the team's #1 goalie. Samsonov had also been battling a mysterious illness, which had him experiencing a lot of flu-like symptoms, which also kept him out of action for a week while Woll continued his impressive run.

Unfortunately for the Leafs, Woll was injured on Thursday in Ottawa and is now on the shelf for the next several weeks with a high-ankle sprain, which has opened the door for Samsonov to re-establish himself as the team's top tendy.
Samsonov was 4-1-3 heading into last night's game against Nashville and had not been particularly good for much of the year. However, he brought his A-game on Saturday night, shutting the door on the Preds, stopping all 19 shots he faced and helping the Leafs to secure a 4-0 victory in Ryan O'Reilly and Luke Schenn's first trip back to Toronto since signing in Nashville this summer.
Ahead of last night's game, Sheldon Keefe had spoken about the injury to Woll, calling it a "tough blow" for the team. He also sent a bit of a message to Ilya Samsonov, emphasizing the fact that he now has another opportunity to find his way, letting him know that the ball is now in his court.
"Tough blow for our team. Tough blow for Joseph, of course, but a tremendous opportunity here now for the other two guys, Samsonov in particular, who hasn't played for a while and had been trying to find his game, find a groove. Here you go."

Samsonov didn't take his chance for granted, using Keefe's message as fuel to get the job done last night. He made some beautiful saves in the contest and battled through traffic to find pucks, not giving the Preds anything easy. Now, let's just hope he can continue this moving forward.
POLL
10 DECEMBRE   |   544 ANSWERS
Sheldon Keefe's message to Ilya Samsonov sparked a shutout win over Nashville

Do you think Ilya Samsonov will turn his season around after his latest shutout win?

Yes, he's going to build on this17131.4 %
Maybe, confidence is his biggest issue23643.4 %
No, this will be Woll's net when he returns13725.2 %
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