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Nylander, Samsonov, Tavares & Holl

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The Toronto Maple Leafs were looking for a bounce-back game after a disappointing 3-2 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night. However, last night’s game didn’t start out like that. The team looked listless and allowed the New York Islanders to take the lead in the first period. 

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Obviously, the first intermission was productive, and the Maple Leafs came out on fire for the second period. Although they allowed the Islanders to take a 2-1 lead, that lead was short-lived. The Maple Leafs returned the fire and ended the second with four goals to ultimately seal the victory.

William Nylander had an outstanding game, scoring two goals and adding two assists. Teammates John Tavares, Calle Jarnkrok, and Auston Matthews also contributed goals to the winning cause. Justin Holl had two assists.

With the win, the Maple Leafs continued a recent strong run, with a 3-0-1 record in their past four games and 6-2-1 in their last nine. Even with some goalie issues and injuries suffered, this is a positive sign for a team continuing to push toward a playoff spot.

Related: Brendan Shanahan: Hall of Fame Career and Lasting NHL Impact

Latest News & Highlights

In this edition of Maple Leafs News & Rumors, I’ll share some of the key player news from the game as well as other news emerging from the team. 

Item One: Ilya Samsonov Wins 15th Game of the Season

Ilya Samsonov made 31 saves on 33 shots during last night’s 5-2 win over the Islanders. Although New York scored the game’s first goal and then took a 2-1 lead early in the second period, he didn’t look shaky. Once his team ramped up their offense, Samsonov shut the door.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Samsonov Has a 2-Game Tumble – Blip or Concern?

Samsonov also contributed a power-play assist when he laid out a beautiful stretch pass on Tavares’ game-tying goal. He has now had three straight starts and has played in four straight games. He’s been great over these four games, putting together a 3-0-1 record with a .947 save percentage. 

With the win, Samsonov improved his season’s record to 15-4-2, with a goals-against average of 2.21 and a .920 save percentage. Although, until now, the coaching staff has been balancing starts between the tandem of Samsonov and Matt Murray, the former seems to be emerging as the goalie of choice.

Ilya Samsonov Toronto Maple Leafs
Ilya Samsonov, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Although Murray has a solid 11-5-2 record, with…

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