Ilya Samsonov's quote following his loss to Vegas shows that he has learned a valuable lesson

Mike Armenti
February 29, 2024  (10:44)

Leafs netminder Ilya Samsonov
Photo credit: The Score

After winning 6 straight starts from February 7th through February 24th, Leafs netminder Ilya Samsonov finally tasted defeat again on Tuesday and it didn't sit well with him. Samsonov had allowed no more than 3 goals in 5 straight games on his incredible run of success, but on Tuesday, he surrendered 5 against the Golden Knights. You could tell after the game that it really affected him.

"It's hard loss for us, especially for me." - Samsonov surrendering 5 goals in a 6-2 loss to Vegas

In the past, Samsonov had shown that losses take a toll on him mentally, and a game in which he had allowed 5 goals would have certainly bothered him, especially knowing where he was at with his career just a couple of short months ago, landing on waivers, believing his time in Toronto may be over. When asked whether he was angry over the loss to Vegas, though, Samsonov dropped one hell of a quote.
"I'm not angry. I just want to get rest. Day is over. I need to be angry on the ice not in the locker room."

It would appear as though Samsonov has taken something away from his previous struggles. Earlier this year, Samsonov would have taken the anger with him after the game. Now, with what he has learned this season, he is able to compartmentalize and separate the loss from what he needs to do to get back into the win column. He's not carrying anything with him that isn't going to help him bounce back. That's an important lesson to have learned.
With Joseph Woll's return on the horizon, there is an element of pressure on Samsonov, to be sure. He wants to be the number one guy in Toronto and while he, Woll and Jones support one another and help one another in practice, there's only one starting goalie on any given night, so Samsonov knows that he needs to make the most of his starts to avoid being relegated to backup duty again. There's also another layer to this in Toronto if they're planning to roll 3 goalies for the remainder of the season.
All Samsonov can really do at this point is prepare himself for the next one, so in that sense, letting go of the loss to Vegas on the night that it happened is a good thing for Samsonov. Hopefully, he can stay out of his own head for the remainder of this week and put his best foot forward in his next start, which is likely either tonight against the Coyotes or Saturday against the Rangers.
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Ilya Samsonov's quote following his loss to Vegas shows that he has learned a valuable lesson

Where do you see Samsonov in the pecking order in Toronto with Joseph Woll coming back?

Sammy is a #2, behind Woll43563.1 %
Sammy is still the #1 guy for now17926 %
It's Woll, Jones, Sammy for me, in that order7510.9 %
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