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Nylander Remains Red-Hot, Samsonov Gaining Momentum In Win Over Isles

January 24, 2023, 5:22 PM ET [284 Comments]
Mike Augello
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The Toronto Maple Leafs effectively bounced back from an overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens with a solid 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Monday, thanks mostly to the offense of William Nylander and the goaltending of Ilya Samsonov.

Nylander scored twice (to take over the club lead from Auston Matthews) and added a pair of assists on goals by John Tavares and Calle Jarnkrok (that tied him for the team scoring lead with Mitch Marner), after being swapped with Marner to the second line with Tavares and Jarnkrok.

“(Willie) was excellent today. In that second period, he was really good.” Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said after the game. “I thought the second period was the best period Tavares has played all season. I thought that got Willie going. He finished the chances and Willie was good, but I thought JT was excellent. He led us in the second period and was really good.”

Samsonov, making his third straight start, made 31 saves and was strong early in the game when New York was extremely energetic and outshot the Leafs 13-6 in the first period. Anders Lee scored the first of two goals late in the opening stanza, but Toronto responded in overwhelming fashion with 22 shots and four goals against Ilya Sorokin in the middle frame.

“(He was) excellent. I was just going through some of it with Curtis Sanford in there. There were some things that maybe don’t show up as the high-end saves he made, but Curtis looks at this stuff a lot closer than any of us.” Keefe said. “He felt this was as strong of a game as he’s played in terms of what he is asking him to do and the process he is looking for him to play with. He is looking very comfortable in the net right now.”

Samsonov improves to 13-0-1 in starts on home ice and based on what Keefe said before his start against the Isles, it is likely that they will ride the hot hand and get the start against the New York Rangers on Wednesday.


After clearing waivers on Monday, the Leafs sent Dryden Hunt down to the Toronto Marlies and on Tuesday winger Joey Anderson was called up.


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