Toronto Maple Leafs Confirm Starting Goaltender For Game 2

Toronto Maple Leafs' goaltender Ilya Samsonov has had a challenging start to the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In his playoff debut for the Toronto Maple Leafs, he allowed six goals in two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning, resulting in a save percentage of .793.

Despite the rough start, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe has expressed confidence in Samsonov's ability to recover and bounce back for Game 2.

Samsonov himself acknowledged his poor performance, saying "I played like sh*t" in his post-game interview. However, he is coming off a successful regular season with a .919 save percentage and 2.33 goals against average (GAA) through 40 starts.

After struggling to secure a starting position with the Washington Capitals, Samsonov signed a one-year, $1.8 million deal with the Leafs during the offseason.

Last season, Samsonov played in 39 games for the Capitals, earning a record of 23-12-5, a .896 save percentage, and a 3.02 GAA. Although he began as the backup to Vitek Vanecek in the 2022 playoffs, Samsonov took over in Game 3 of the first round against the Florida Panthers.

While he started strong, his performance deteriorated, and the Capitals were eliminated in the first round for the fourth consecutive year.

Samsonov's poor playoff performance has caused some speculation about the Leafs' starting goaltender situation. For his playoff career, Samsonov holds a brutal 1-7 record, 3.45 GAA, and a .895 SV%.

However, with Matt Murray injured with a concussion, the starting position is currently Samsonov's to lose.

It remains to be seen if Samsonov can bounce back in Game 2 against the Lightning and even up the series. Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports