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Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Samsonov, Schenn & Ovchinnikov

Ilya Samsonov Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs meet the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night. The Hurricanes have won five of their last seven games and rank third in the NHL in shots per game. The Maple Leafs are looking to win their final game of a three-game homestand after losing the first two games to the Colorado Avalanche and the Buffalo Sabres. 

In the Maple Leafs’ last game, a 2-1 shootout loss to the Avs on Wednesday, Ilya Samsonov was outstanding. On the night, he saved 28 of 29 shots. However, Toronto’s offence struggled, especially during overtime and in the shootout. 

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

The team didn’t register a shot on goal during overtime, nor could William Nylander, Auston Matthews, or Mitchell Marner score in the shootout. In fact, only one player put a shot on the goalie during the shootout: Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly, who scored his team’s only goal. 

Related: Ex-Maple Leaf Wendel Clark Weighs in on Current Leafs Stars

In this edition of Maple Leafs’ News and Rumors, I’ll take a look at news about the game as well as other news emerging from the organization.

Item One: Ilya Samsonov Gets Tonight’s Start

Samsonov will get the start tonight against the Hurricanes, as the first goalie off the ice during the team’s morning skate. As noted, in his last game, he allowed one goal on 29 shots for a .966 save percentage, but lost in a shootout against the Avalanche. 

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Despite this loss, Samsonov has had a successful season. He has put together a 23-8-3 record, a 2.36 goals-against-average, and a .916 save percentage. He’s especially good on home ice.

Item Two: Luke Schenn Will Play Tonight

After missing the last four games for personal reasons, Luke Schenn is set to return to the lineup against Carolina. The defenseman was awaiting the birth of his child in Vancouver and missed the last four Maple Leafs’ games.

Related: Maple Leafs Need Rielly to Be More Consistent Down the Stretch

Schenn will play on the second unit alongside Jake McCabe. Schenn has three goals and 18 assists (for 21 points) in his 57 NHL games this season.

Item Three: Matthews and Marner Given a Day Off

Against the Avalanche, both Mitch Marner (29:10) and Auston Matthews (26:52) put up season highs in ice time and were given Thursday’s practice off for rest.

Auston Matthews Mitch Marner Celebrate Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner Celebrate a Goal (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

Head coach Sheldon Keefe noted that, while both…

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