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Leafs Survive One Injury Crisis, Samsonov Returns Vs. Sharks

November 30, 2022, 5:51 PM ET [325 Comments]
Mike Augello
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The Toronto Maple Leafs has had to jump two high hurdles in the first quarter of the season, having to play long stretches without both of their starting goaltenders and their top three blueliners. The club lost Matt Murray in the opening week and was forced to lean heavily on Ilya Samsonov until he suffered a knee injury against Boston in early November. After a three-plus week recuperation, Samsonov returns to the lineup as the Leafs take on the San Jose Sharks at Scotiabank Arena.

"We went into yesterday, approaching to give him a good practice and that medically he was cleared, it was more just so he felt that he had the appropriate work to go," Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said after the club's morning skate on Wednesday. (Samsonov is) very excited to play and that didn't change this morning, so he's going."

Toronto has earned points in 10 straight games (8-0-2) and are coming off a clean sweep of a four-game road trip of New Jersey, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, and Detroit, while the Sharks (who beat Montreal 4-0 on Tuesday) are near the bottom of the Pacific Division.

Aaron Dell is the likely starter for San Jose after Kappo Kahkonen made 24 saves for the shutout at the Bell Centre, but the Leafs cannot overlook San Jose, who beat Toronto 4-3 in overtime on October 27th on an Erik Karlsson breakaway.



Other than Samsonov, the Leafs will make only one lineup change, inserting Nick Robertson on the line with Zach Aston-Reese and David Kampf in place of Denis Malgin.

Keefe updated the status of defenseman TJ Brodie, saying the veteran defenseman was making progress towards returning from an oblique strain but would not set a date for a possible return. Newly acquired Conor Timmins did some extra on-ice work on Wednesday and could make his Leafs debut when the club returns to the road on Saturday in Tampa or next Tuesday in Dallas.



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