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Sheldon Keefe throws some serious shade at Samsonov following Game 6


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Ryan Smitheram
May 3, 2024  (1:34 PM)
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Ilya Samsonov
Photo credit: Maple Leafs on Twitter

Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe appears to have fired a shot at Ilya Samsonov's lack of consistency in net when asked about the play of Joseph Woll in Game 6.

Woll has saved the Leafs' season twice so far, winning both Game 5 and Game 6 and providing a stabilizing presence between the pipes for the rest of the team. Thanks to his efforts, the Leafs have forced Game 7 Saturday night in Boston and there is no doubt that Woll will once again get the start.
It's not to say that Samsonov had played horribly through the first four games, it's just that he didn't give the team a save when they needed it.
According to Stathletes, Samsonov had a -2.33 goals saved above expected from games 1 to 4 along with a .880 save percentage and scoring chance save percentage of .719. In games five and six, Woll has a goals saved above expected of +3.89, .961 save percentage and a .875 scoring chance save percentage. While the numbers prove Woll has been an unsung hero for the Leafs, they also support Keefe's inadvertent shot at Samsonov during his post-game comments.
"He hasn't made any mistakes. Because of that, we have stayed in games," said Keefe. "There is nothing that has gone in that shouldn't have. It has given the group confidence. You need that right now. Again, tonight, it is such a tight game. It is such a tight game in Game 5. You are facing elimination. If you make some mistakes there, it is curtains. It has given the group confidence. It has been tremendous to see...The guys are also competing for him and giving him every opportunity to find his way in the series. He is rewarding them. When there are breakdowns, he has been great."

Keefe continued by talking about how the switch from Samsonov has levelled out the goaltending matchup.
"It has been tremendous for us. Making the decision to make the switch Sammy was terrific for us in Game 2. This is Joe's opportunity now. When goaltending performs like that in games where the margins are so thin, it makes a huge difference. The games and the series have been so tight in a lot of ways because of the goaltending at the other end. It has been hard for us to get offense, finish our chances, and get the puck over the line. Their goalie has been really good. Woll has come in and matched that."

Heading into Saturday's Game 7, Woll will continue his streak where each of his playoff starts has been an elimination game and so far, he is 3-1 in those games. Hopefully he has saved his best for last, as the last time the Leafs and Bruins met in a Game 7, the Bruins won easily, 5-1 in 2019.
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Sheldon Keefe throws some serious shade at Samsonov following Game 6

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