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Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Samsonov, Tverberg, Schenn, Knies

Ilya Samsonov Toronto Maple Leafs

The final 2-1 score after last night’s contest between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Colorado Avalanche seemed about right. Both teams played a tightly-contested game that was strategic and defensive from start to finish. Despite being high-scoring teams, this felt like playoff hockey – a low-scoring game that was often dull but intense. 

In the end, the game went to a shootout after neither team could break the deadlock in overtime. None of the Maple Leafs’ three top scorers – Mitch Marner, William Nylander, or Auston Matthews – could beat Avalanche goalie Alexandar Georgiev and Nathan MacKinnon did beat Ilya Samsonov in the shootout. That was the game.

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The Maple Leafs were unable to generate much offence on a pressuring Avalanche team. The team’s only goal came from Morgan Rielly. Samsonov was the star for Toronto, with 28 saves in the losing effort. Even in overtime, the Maple Leafs failed to generate a single shot on net, while Colorado outshot them 4-0.

Related: Remembering Maple Leafs Tough Guy Jim Dorey

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

Item One: Ilya Samsonov Plays Well, Still Loses in Shootout

Samsonov got the start on Wednesday. It had been more than a week since his last start (on March 7), when he made 30 saves in a 4-3 win against the New Jersey Devils. 

The Avalanche came into the game having won three of their last four games, averaging almost five goals a night. They couldn’t duplicate that kind of offence against Samsonov. He stopped 28 of 29 shots in the loss.

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

Unfortunately, the Maple Leafs couldn’t take advantage of Samsonov’s solid play. Over 65 minutes, they only managed 18 shots and didn’t manage a single shot in the extra period. Samsonov helped them steal a point but couldn’t help them get the two points.

Samsonov pushed his stellar home record to 17-2-2. When added to his road record of 6-6-1, he’s 23-8-3 overall this season. It’s pretty clear by now that he’s the go-to guy in Toronto.

Item Two: Ryan Tverberg Signs Three-Year ELC with Maple Leafs

Ryan Tverberg, a 21-year-old local lad from Richmond Hill, Ontario, signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Maple Leafs on Wednesday. He was drafted in the seventh round (213th overall) of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound center…

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