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Samsonov or Woll? Leafs reporter believes he knows who's in for Game 2


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Ryan Smitheram
April 22, 2024  (8:51)
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Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll
Photo credit: Sportsnet

Leafs reporter Josua Kloke expects Sheldon Keefe to give Ilya Samsonov the nod again in Game 2.

Game 1 did not go very well for the Toronto Maple Leafs as they allowed the Boston Bruins to take a 1-0 lead under three minutes into the first period. While the Leafs had their opportunities, firing 36 shots on Jeremy Swayman, it was the Bruins that were able to capitalize on theirs, going up 4-0 after two periods and going 2-for-5 on the power play.
When asked about Game 2 lineup decisions on Sunday, Sheldon Keefe was tight-lipped. Not only did he avoid sharing information regarding his lineup, but he also did not divulge any information on injury updates to William Nylander and Bobby McMann.

Why Keefe will go back to Samsonov in Game 2:

According to The Athletic's Joshua Kloke, it is more than likely that Keefe will put the Leafs' fate in the hands of Ilya Samsonov for Game 2 on Monday night. Although he gave up four goals on 23 shots on Saturday, it is his and the Leafs' ability to bounce back after a loss that Keefe will lean on in Kloke's eyes.
As Kloke mentioned in his article, it would not make much sense for the Leafs to go with Joseph Woll for Game 2 after giving Samsonov a week off before the playoffs began.
"Does that mean Keefe will quickly pull an about-face and turn away from Samsonov, who he boasted earlier this month as the 'goalie of record to help us win the first playoff series in a really long time here in this city'?

That feels unlikely, given Keefe and the coaching staff appeared focused on getting Samsonov enough rest leading into the postseason in anticipation of plenty of starts. Samsonov is still the undisputed starting goalie, for now."

When Samsonov has given up three or more goals in his playoff starts for the Leafs, he has played very well the next game. The Leafs lost Games 1 and 5 against the Tampa Bay Lightning last postseason and in Games 2 and 6, Samsonov posted a .954 save percentage and stopped 51 of 54 shots in those two games.
At this point, it would come as more of a shock if Keefe chose to start Woll over Samsonov Monday night than if he gives Samsonov the nod again. Given the desperation of the Leafs and lack of playoff success, however, one has to wonder just how long of a leash he has before Woll gets his opportunity to right the ship.
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Samsonov or Woll? Leafs reporter believes he knows who's in for Game 2

If the Leafs lose to the Bruins in Round 1, will Sheldon Keefe keep his job as head coach in Toronto?

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