Leafs sending Samsonov back to Toronto to be with expectant wife

Mar 22 2023, 1:57 pm

The Toronto Maple Leafs are making a change to their lineup after last night’s 7-2 blowout loss to the New York Islanders.

But it doesn’t appear that the changes have much to do with the team’s performance.

After last night’s defeat, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe announced that the team would be sending goaltender Ilya Samsonov back to Toronto following Wednesday’s practice to be home with his wife Maria, who is expecting the couple’s first child.

“He has a lot going on right now, obviously,” Keefe told the media. “All he has to focus on is getting home and being with his wife. This is a very important and special time for him and his family. He needs to get back.”

Samsonov previously missed Saturday’s game in Ottawa while spending time with Maria as they await the birth of their child.

Keefe announced that he expects Joseph Woll to be the Leafs’ other goaltender, along with Matt Murray, for the Leafs’ next three games through Sunday on the road against Florida, Carolina, and Nashville.

And while some teams might make a point of emphasizing a tough loss as a sign that things aren’t going too well, Keefe didn’t seem willing to dwell on the defeat.

“We won’t overthink this one,” Keefe added. “Obviously, in the third period, we didn’t like how we handled that, but our team has been through a lot and have won some big games against some good teams of late.”

Mitch Marner pulled the Leafs back to a 3-2 score a little over three minutes into the third period, but Toronto surrendered four more goals in the loss.

The Leafs visit the Panthers tomorrow, with puck drop set for 7 pm ET.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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